Carlson, Melody. 2009. Just Another Girl.
For as long as I can remember, I've been stuck in the middle. Like being dealt a loser's hand with no more turns to take, my luck seemed to run out even before I was born.
What's a girl to do when the guy she's crushing on doesn't love her God? Meet Aster Flynn. The girl in the middle. One older sister, Rose, one younger sister, Lily. One mostly neglectful work-driven mother. One completely (well-mostly) absent father. Seventeen and tired of not having a life--a life complicated by the fact that her younger sister has a mental disability--the mind of a five year old in the body of a fifteen year old--Aster is more than thrilled when a popular guy, Owen, starts paying attention to her. It's summer. And the timing seems right, Owen is there right when she needs. Right when she thinks she can't take another day of life "as is." But is Owen--cute and dreamy though he may be--really the answer to her prayers? What about his reputation? What about his lifestyle? What about his beliefs? Life is definitely complicated for Aster. She knows that she needs a break, a life; she knows that she should not be shouldering the responsibility for caring for her sister all alone. But how can she make her mom and dad listen to her? How can she find her voice?
I liked this one. Aster's narrative is strong and mostly authentic. It did have a few moments where it felt a little bit like an after-school special. And there were a few more places where it felt like an episode of Full House. (Minus the make-up-with-your-sisters-and-hug music.) But all that being said, I liked it more than not. And I'd definitely recommend it to teens and tweens looking for clean reading material. While it is a Christian book, it is more of a morality-values kind of book. Not a bad thing--not at all. It's refreshing to read a book now and then that shows a teen girl happy to be herself, who would choose to be herself instead of falling for the "everybody's doing it..." trick when it comes to drinking and dating, etc. Her life isn't perfect. Her life will never be perfect in that sitcom-ey way.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible