A coming of age story where a high school girl must come to terms with her sexual past and difficult home life and take matters into her own hands in order to move forward with her life. Deanna Lambert is having quite a rough time of it at school and the reason for it is because of something that happened three years ago when Deanna was thirteen. Her father had caught her getting intimate in the backseat of the then 17 year old Tommy Webber's car, a drug buddy of Deanna's older brother Darren. Tommy had the news around school that Deanna was promiscuous and since then she had been bullied almost everyday by being called fast and a slut by the boys in her school. This day, the last of the school year, is no different. She is being bullied by two of her most notorious bullies, Tucker and Bruce, when her best friend and secret crush Jason swoops in to save her. Deanna is grateful she has a friend like Jason who ignores the rumors about her floating around school but she also wishes she could be more than just friends with him. Unfortunately for Deanna, this is not in the realm of possibility as Jason is dating her other best friend Lee, who she introduced to Jason in the first place. Deanna's home life isn't much better than her school life. After catching Deanna in the backseat with the older boy, Deanna's father refuses to speak to her outside of to tell her to stay out of trouble or to do her homework and her mom though nice enough is meek and timid and does not stand up to Deanna's father. Also in the mix is Deanna's brother Darren, a nice enough guy who lives in the basement with his girlfriend and their baby. Naturally, Deanna's father doesn't get along with the little family downstairs either. Despite the fact that her two best friends are dating, Deanna is happy to hear from her friend Lee who has just returned from a trip to Santa Monica. Deanna suggests that the two head off to apply for jobs so the two girls meet up and do just that. Deanna actually is hired on the spot at a local pizza joint called Picasso Pizza. It looks a bit sleazy but the manager Michael is willing to give her plenty of hours a week so she decides to take it. On her first day of work Deanna is disgusted to find that Tommy works there as well. He proceeds to treat her so inappropriately that Michael notices and Deanna tells him the whole story. Michael promises to make Tommy behave if Deanna still wants to work at the pizzeria. Eager to move out on her own and knowing she needs money to do so, Deanna decides to stay at the pizzeria. One day during her shift, Lee comes to visit her looking for advice. She is unsure of whether or not she should lose her virginity to Jason. Deanna becomes upset that Lee gets to have this “problem” while Deanna lost her virginity to a cruddy guy like Tommy. She wants to give her friend supportive advice but can't stymie her anger and Lee leaves in tears. The rest of her shift doesn't go very well. A couple of her worst bullies happen to descend on the pizzeria and think it's hilarious that Tommy and Deanna work together. The shift is hellish for Deanna. To make matters worse, Stacey never comes to pick Deanna up from work so Deanna ends up walking in the rain. She doesn't get very far when Tommy pulls up and drives her the rest of the way home. She is momentarily attracted to him once more but snaps out of it when she remembers how badly he had treated her after that day. When she goes inside her house, she finds that Stacey never came home. The next day, they drive to Stacey's job and find a note left on her car. The note reads not to worry about her but does not reveal her whereabouts. Two days later Stacey comes home after partying with an old friend of hers but Darren is still angry and tells Stacey to leave the house. To avoid the toxic drama, Deanna calls up Jason and the two hang out at the mall where Deanna finally asks Jason why he never asked her out. Jason reveals it's because he only sees her as a friend. She kisses him but then he gently tells her she had better go which she does. A couple of mornings later, the family is all in the kitchen when Deanna and her dad finally speak and it's not pretty. Deanna shouts that no matter what she does he will always hate her and Deanna's dad seems surprised that she actually thinks that. Her mom urges Deanna's dad to make things right with his daughter but he can't seem to get the right words out and leaves the house. Deanna has a moment epiphany and tells Darren he needs to make things right with Stacey and ask her to come back home which he does because he admits that he deeply respects Deanna. Deanna also plans to come clean to Lee about kissing Jason but before she has a chance to Jason tells her. It's been a month since Lee and Deanna talked and school is about to begin again. Things at the pizzeria are more or less alright as Tommy and Deanna have worked out their issues and Tommy apologized. Stacey and Darren have moved into their own apartment and let Deanna keep a toothbrush and ask her to babysit for them often. Things with her dad actually took a turn for the better as well. After years of strained silence they have a small moment in the kitchen where things seem almost like they used to be. This prompts Deanna to think about her relationship with Lee and how she doesn't want to lose their friendship. She knows she owes Lee an apology so she writes her a letter asking her to meet her in front of the school on the first day of class.
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Best part of story, including ending:
This was another good coming of age story but more than that it was a story about facing your past and owning up to mistakes you made and also making amends with others. I like that this is a young adult's book but really anyone could read this and take away something from it.
Best scene in story:
I thought the scene where Deanna tells Darren he needs to make things right with Stacey was my favorite scene. It was there that Deanna began to realize what she needed to do in her own life in order to move forward. I thought it was powerful.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked Deanna once she started to make changes in her life. It was easy to sympathize with her as she was getting bullied and dealing with a difficult home life but once she started to take matters into her own hands instead of playing the victim I really liked her.