Inside Out Girl

Tish Cohen, Author . Harper Perennial $13.95 (317p) ISBN 978-0-06-145295-6

Cohen throws every imaginable obstacle at her protagonists in this thoughtful but overly dramatic tale of two single parents turned lovers. Rachel Berman, the divorced publisher of Perfect Parent magazine, is striving to be just that to her two children, rebellious teen Janie and 12-year-old Dustin. Len Bean, a widowed lawyer, meanwhile, tries to manage his daughter Olivia's learning disorder, a condition that causes her to repeatedly talk about rodents and dress inappropriately. When Rachel and Len serendipitously meet, they hit it off. Soon their lives and those of their children become intertwined, much to Janie and Dustin's dismay. As tension builds for the children, a secret from Rachel's past comes to the forefront, and Len receives bad news at the doctor's office. Regret, rejection and worry abound as the plot touches on the standard societal/familial issues (divorce, teenage sexuality, adoption), and Rachel fights to create her own legacy at work. Cohen's language is pleasant and the characters relatable, but the plot is so obvious that the narrative feels like a quirky soap opera. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 03/31/2008
Release date: 08/01/2008
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