The Whole Stupid Way We Are

N Griffin, Author
N. Griffin. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-44243-155-3
Reviewed on: 12/17/2012
Release date: 02/05/2013
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-4424-3158-4
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When readers meet 14-year-old Dinah, she’s plotting to get her best friend Skint out of detention, which is Dinah all over: she’s a loving worrier, loyal even to the people and things she’s ambivalent about, like the Girls’ Friendly Society, a service group whose members have dwindled to three older women, Dinah, and the technically ineligible Skint. The Girls’ Friendly tries to help people in its small Maine town, but never in the way Dinah and Skint wish. And the truth is, Skint, whose father has early-onset dementia, could use some help himself, not that he’d take it. First-time author Griffin is good at depicting a small town where the many interconnections make it hard to know what to overlook and when to intervene, and she is equally tuned into the different ways people, adults and teens both, fail each other. It’s impossible not to like clumsy, warm-hearted Dinah, even as her best intentions turn Skint’s family upside down; Griffin’s portrayal of Dinah and Skint’s sense of injustice, frustration, and rage is wrenching and difficult to forget. Ages 14–up. Agent: Joe Monti, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Feb.)
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