The New Normal

Ashley Little. Orca, $12.95 trade paper (232p) ISBN 978-1-4598-0074-8
“I was sixteen and being hunted by a drug dealer. My hair was falling out and my sisters were dead and my parents were broken and there wasn’t a goddamn thing I could do about any of it.” Tamar has a lot going on ever since her younger twin sisters were killed a few months ago, but Little (Prick: Confessions of a Tattoo Artist), in her first book for teens, prevents Tamar’s situation from feeling melodramatic, always keeping her story grounded. Readers will sense that realism from the very first page, when Tamar flatly describes her hair loss’s progress from her pubic region to her extremities, eyelashes, and the rest of her body: Tamar tells it like it is from start to finish. There’s a lot of plot, but it moves quickly, with Tamar seeking a job and a role in the school play, finding romance, trying to negotiate her parents’ grief, and getting involved in a fight at school. But Tamar is so relatable and genuine that readers will be invested in her attempts to surmount the challenges that pile up. Ages 12–up. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/04/2013
Release date: 03/01/2013
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