School Library Journal
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Gr 8 Up-Miles is wry, sarcastic, and smart, an almost-18-year-old Goth with a weight problem and a growing addiction to pharms. She and her "golden" cousin, Laura, were raised like sisters on their Georgetown estate, she in the carriage house out back with her mom, Laura in the main house with her wealthy gay father. In a first-person narrative peppered with flashbacks and essays written for school, Miles tells of Laura's suicide and a summer spent grieving. It's a story of Miles's changing perceptions of the people in her life: of Laura herself; Miles's best friend, Jamal, with whom she's falling in love; Jamal's affluent black family; Laura's grief-stricken father; and Miles's own parents (an artist mother who runs off to a boyfriend in London, and a formerly alcoholic, absentee father who shows up to watch over her). Cohn tackles a lot here: clinical depression, suicide, drug addiction, homosexuality, grief, Washington, DC 's racial and social stratifications, and the political fight for District statehood. Fans of titles such as Cohn's "Gingerbread" series and Pop Princess (2004, both S & S) will find a darker, more wrenching and poetic narrative, but may also get lost in the book's overabundance of social and political themes and wish for more insight into the relationship Miles mourns. While Cohn's characterizations occasionally teeter toward stereotype, the story's evolving relationships keep it compelling enough to propel readers through to its dramatic conclusion.-Riva Pollard, formerly at The Winsor School Library, Boston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Cohn (Gingerbread) delves into her darker side as she probes a teen's suicide and the painful repercussions for her loved ones. After her best friend and first cousin, Laura, kills herself with an overdose of prescription drugs, 17-year-old Miles is shattered: the person Miles believed would always be there for her has left without even saying goodbye. And when her flaky mother flees town to mourn with her boyfriend in London, Miles is left alone with Laura's father to endure a summer of grief at his D.C. estate. A prescription-drug addict herself, Miles must embark upon a journey of self-discovery if she is to survive. Cohn once again excels at crafting a multidimensional, in-the-moment teenage world, this time without recourse to her usual witty style. There is a bleakness to her language that superbly suits this sad, somber tale. Her work is heartbreaking, at times excruciating to read, but it rings with authenticity. In pursuing Miles's responses, she spares few details, neither the methods via which Miles and Laura procure their pills nor the actual medical causes of Laura's supposedly peaceful death. The tragedy of teen suicide has been the subject of countless novels, yet rarely has it been discussed with such gritty realism. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
After her cousin, Laura, commits suicide, high-school-senior Miles numbs the grief with prescription pills, a habit she and Laura had shared in the tree house of the Georgetown estate where they lived: Miles in the carriage house with her mother, Laura in the main house with her wealthy, gay father. In the summer following Laura's death, Miles cocoons herself in drugs and solitude. A passionate reader, she narrates her own story in shifting voices, often referring to herself in the third person in dark urban fairy tales. The changing narrative styles makes for a somewhat blurry, disjointed whole. That effect, though, echoes Miles' slippery sobriety and her painful search for herself as she struggles with large questions, so familiar to idealistic teens, about how to reconcile growing up and into a world filled with hypocrisy, suffering, and loss. Teens will be riveted by Miles intelligent, cynical, overweight, talented, and wholly authentic and her harrowing path through grief and addiction.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2008 Booklist