cover image Starting From Here

Starting From Here

Lisa Jenn Bigelow. Amazon Children's Publishing, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7614-6

In the two years since 16-year-old Colby's mother died, Colby's grades have slipped, and her father's nonstop work as a trucker leaves her to fend for herself most of the time. When Colby's girlfriend dumps her for a guy, it's the last straw; Colby is distraught and defensive, and she further isolates herself by avoiding the gay-straight alliance meetings at school as well as her best friend Van. Things begin to change for the better when she adopts and forms an intense attachment to a three-legged stray dog. Colby befriends a vet and finds a new love interest, but neither of the girls has come out to her parents, and Colby is reluctant to open her heart again. Debut author Bigelow capably captures a teen's fears of abandonment and judgment, as well as the often wobbly path toward developing a sexual identity, through Colby's pragmatic perspective. This voice-driven coming-of-age story offers a relatable glimpse at the value of honesty in relationships and of showing one's authentic self to the world. Ages 14%E2%80%93up. (Aug.)