cover image Live Through This

Live Through This

Mindi Scott. Simon Pulse, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4424-4059-3

Scott (Freefall) delivers another intense and often uncomfortable portrait of a teenager in a desperate situation. Coley has a generally happy family life, does well in school and on the dance team, and she's starting to fall for a nice boy named Reece, who could become her first real boyfriend. But she's also being raped by someone close to her, and she feels partially responsible for the ongoing abuse. Scott crafts natural dialogue, and conversations between Coley and her friends Ming and Noah give the story an easy momentum, creating a disconcerting contrast between Coley's "normal" outside environment and her inner agony. The thought of sharing a secret so deeply buried is inconceivable to Coley, who actively relies on denial to cope. The identity of the perpetrator is clumsily telegraphed and "revealed" to readers much too late, but Scott handles Coley's confusion over her own body's reactions to the assaults and her conflicted love for her abuser with subtlety and sensitivity. Coley's final acceptance that she has been victimized delivers a powerful and hopeful conclusion. Ages 14%E2%80%93up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Oct.)