Last Friday, I used "Forget You" by Jennifer Echols as the subject of my Friday 56. I told all my blog readers that I had not read the book yet, but I'd let everyone know what I thought once I finished. Today, I'm keeping my promise!
It took me two days to read the book, and that was in between work, family life/parenting, and a visit to the doctor. So yeah... it was a good book that kept my attention. It also reaffirmed to me the reason that I love YA fiction. It's relevant.
A lot of the YA fiction I read is paranormal. It's no secret that I LOVE paranormal fiction! However, I also really love a true-to-life type story. "Forget You" is not a paranormal book, but rather an edgy, gritty story of a teenage girl going through her parents' divorce and all the issues and baggage the goes along with it. She's unwittingly put in the middle of her parents' drama, and she deals with it in the way many teens deal with conflict... by making stupid decisions! Sometimes the choices kids make aren't pretty, and they have some heavy consequences, but in my opinion there's no sense glossing over that in a fictional book (as if by writing about the poor choices teens sometimes make you are endorsing such behavior). It's much more powerful to dive head first into the "tough stuff", and then show the characters growing and learning from their mistakes, and coming out stronger on the other side.
Which is exactly what Jennifer Echols does in "Forget You". Zoey struggles, most of the way through the book, and in many cases she doesn't handle the stress very well. She makes stupid decisions. She does things she might not do under ordinary circumstances. She finds herself in situations that could be harmful.
The good news is, she doesn't stay in those situations. She doesn't continue to make bad choices. She pulls herself out of the crap her parents have dumped on her (with the help of a few friends) and emereges a stronger, more self-aware young woman.
It's a great read. And if you like YA fiction, I highly recommend it.
(One side note - As a parent, I'd advise reading it first before you recommend it to your child. It does deal with some pretty heavy teenage issues. Each parent knows his or her child better than anyone else and is the best person to gauge whether or not a child is emotionally mature enough to read a book with gritty issues.)