Now take a closer look, and give Claire a second thought. Not everything is as it seems. Claire's parents are divorced, and her mother is drinking alcohol frequently. Claire is in remission from leukemia, which took her out of school for a year.
Enter Lani Garver, the new kid at school. At first, due to his long hair, slight build and tendency to giggle, the other students assume that Lani's a girl. Even after he sets them straight, most of his peers regard him as a freak.
Claire's path crosses with Lani's a few times in as many days. She learns that he is a few years older and quite a bit wiser than his classmates. A whirlwind friendship between the outcast and the cheerleader, a friendship which defies the teenage laws of cliques and clashing in their small town. With Claire as the protagonist, it becomes not just Lani's story but hers as well. Once he opens her eyes, she begins to see both the beauty and the cruelty in the world.
What Happened to Lani Garver is an emotional experience. Note that the title is a statement, not a question. This book is a realistic anatomy of a hate crime that will make you consider society's standards - and maybe even your own. Highly recommended.
The postergirlz selected this title to be a recommended read in the September 2008 issue of readergirlz.
Wicked Cool Overlooked Books (WCOB) is a monthly blog notation encouraged by Colleen from Chasing Ray: On the first Monday of every month, she posts about a book she enjoyed and wishes others would pick up. She invites others to post their picks as well. Discover other titles I've marked as Wicked Cool Overlooked Books.
Related Posts: Booklist: Tough Issues for Teens; Interview: Carol Plum-Ucci