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Story of a Girl
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When she was 13, Deanna had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old boy, Tommy, which was ended by her father who caught them in the act. Now it's the summer between her sophomore and junior years, and she is still dealing with the repercussions: Her father can't look at her and seems to hate her, and Tommy's stories have made most of the high schoolers in her small town think she is nothing but a slut.
Hoping to make enough money to move out, Deanna takes a job at a local pizza place, even though Tommy works there too. Meanwhile she is dealing with her brother, who has become a teen father; his girlfriend, who takes off, leaving them with the baby; and her changing feelings about her only two remaining friends.
Is it any good?
The feelings and motivations of all of the characters, but especially of Deanna, are subtle and complex here in a way that most young adult novels aren't. For instance, Deanna is repelled by Tommy, angry at him, contemptuous, a bit frightened, and yet still attracted to him. Tommy himself is a lout, but not evil, and with complex feelings of his own. Every character and every relationship gives the reader much to recognize and think about.
The theme of forgiveness is similarly subtle and complex here -- this is not an author to hit the reader over the head with The Point. Forgiveness is something all the characters confront in one way or another, and those who can manage it do it for themselves more than for others. It becomes an act of survival, not sainthood.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the role of forgiveness in the story. Who needs to forgive -- and who needs to be forgiven?
This book deals with a teen who has sex at a young age. Why does she decide to make that choice? Do the repercussions she faces feel authentic? Parents may want to use this opportunity to discuss their own attitudes about teen relationships and sex. Common Sense Media's Too Sexy Too Soon offers advice for how to help girls develop a healthy self-image.
For kids who love coming-of-age stories
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.