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In the Garage by Alma Fullerton

January 13th, 2007 (03:10 pm)
okay

Current Mood: okay
Current Song: How Doth the Little Crocodile from Alice

Barbara Jean hates her birthmark, a portwine stain on her face which her peers and her mother have made fun of ever since she was little. In fact, her mother often put BJ down, then ultimately abandoned her family. Now a teenager, BJ is more self-conscious than ever. She doesn't like how she looks. She doesn't like how much she weights. She doesn't think she'll ever really fit in. She doesn't confide in her father. She only talks to Alex, the boy who has been her best friend since he stood up for her on the playground years ago.

When two popular girls, Victoria and Rachel, start acting friendly towards her, BJ can't believe her good luck. She starts hanging out with them more and more. She fails to notice that her best friend Alex is having problems of his own, fighting to keep his band together and secretly struggling to come to terms with his orientation.

The beginning of the book is actually the ending, showing a grief-stricken BJ dealing with the aftermath of a horrific event. The story then rewinds, revealing BJ's upbringing, her friendship with Alex, and a betrayal which no one expected.

The story moves along very quickly, a great selling point for reluctant readers. In the Garage is told in alterating chapters, with BJ's thoughts written in first-person prose while Alex's thoughts are shared through his poetic journal entries, which should attract readers of both genders. The dual narrative will be appreciated by those who enjoyed Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, while the plot regarding the dark side of the high school social scene will intrigue fans of What Happened to Lani Garver by Carol Plum-Ucci.

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