cover image Crazy in Love

Crazy in Love

Dandi Daley Mackall. Dutton Books, $16.99 (232pp) ISBN 978-0-525-47780-8

High school senior Mary Jane has two voices in her head: Plain Jane puts her down and demands that she be a good girl, while M.J., ""a voice that can only be described as sexy,"" encourages her to take what she wants. These two voices battle it out as Mary Jane develops a ""monster-truck-sized crush"" on Jackson, who happens to be dating the school's queen bee. When Mary Jane starts dating him, the voices' arguments center around whether she should have sex with Jackson-in violation of an abstinence promise she made with her friends years ago (""Abstinence in Action!""). Mary Jane has some smart insights about the dynamics of girl friendships (""To the casual observer, The Girls are one big happy family tree... But from the inside, The Girls are all too aware of the delicate system of interlocking branches, the swaying and creaking of those branches in the wind""), and she eventually draws a perceptive conclusion about her internal voices, realizing that everyone ""feels like we're different people"" sometimes. Even so, readers may be confused when the book suddenly shifts from a story about clique politics to one about first romance. Some characters, like the heroine's two friends who parallel her internal voices, or Mary Jane's always sweet mentally retarded sister, remain two-dimensional. In the end, Mary Jane's story never comes to life. Ages 13-up.