Staff Book Reviews
Andrea reviews LUSH by Natasha Friend (Scholastic Press, 2006)
Samantha wants to be a normal 13-year-old girl. She wants to hang out with her friends, talk about guys, have slumber parties, and go on dates. But because of her secret, being normal is not always possible. Sure, her mother is weird in the fact she thinks yoga will solve everything in her universe and of course her little brother is annoying and adorable all at once because he’s four. These things Sam deals with because it is her father who is the biggest embarrassment to her.
Samantha’s dad is an alcoholic. He constantly promises it will be better or he can cut the drinking down to just one drink a day. But like most alcoholics he has to hit rock bottom before he can quit drinking. He does, but unfortunately it is in a big way that affects everyone in the family. Samantha is floundering. It’s hard enough to be a teenager even without the extra family drama added on top. She begins to confide in a stranger by leaving letters in library books. She looks forward to the advice A.J.K. (whoever they are) gives her by slipping notes back into the library books.
The person she least expects to help her turns out to be her biggest supporter. Also, learning her father needs her help makes her want to support him in return.
This is a poignant and well-written story told from a thirteen-year-old’s point of view who just so happens to be struggling with “normal” stuff but also has another real issue. The author has also included resources for kids and teens who might be going through similar kinds of issues.
Andrea King, Cordova Library