Monday, June 27, 2005

noel's faking 19

By the time 17-year-old Alex is in her senior year of high school, she is in danger of not graduating, something that no one could have foreseen just a couple years ago. Her father is gone, her best friend M. dabbles in drugs, and Alex wonders why she should care about anything. It’s not like she’s not smart enough, or pretty enough, or popular enough. Every weekend, M. and Alex head down to L.A. in order to party at all the hip clubs, where they pretend to be 19 in order to fit in. It’s more about forgetting than fitting in, though, and the initial fun soon wears off for Alex when she realizes that she can’t escape who she is. She must take a step back and reevaluate her friendship with M. as well as figure out what she wants to do after high school; after all, clothes, music, and hanging out – her top three “what I’m good at” choices – aren’t going to provide her with a real future. Writing, the one thing that she’s exceptionally good at, has always been her outlet and escape, but is it enough for her to start her future? Does she have the power to control her own life? Noel’s debut novel is realistic and convincing. Alex and M. are fresh and endearing; Noel gives us two girls who are anything but superficial. First person narration and situations dealing with sex, drugs, and alcohol make this a compelling look at one teenager’s broken life and how she fixes it. Readers will relate to both girls and their lives.


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