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Girl Defective

by Simmone Howell

Published by U.S. edition: Atheneum, 2014
301 pages
ISBN: 978𢴒424-97603

Ages 14 and Older

Teenage Sky lives with her dad and younger brother, Gully, near the used record store that is her dad抯 passion but barely keeps the family afloat financially. Sky抯 dad, while loving, is in a constant state of stress he relieves by drinking. Sky is often responsible for Gully, who is smart but socially shunned for his challenging, sometimes unusual behavior. Gully thinks of himself as a detective and is determined to find the white jeep seen the night several businesses including the record store were the victims of vandalism. Meanwhile, Sky is obsessed with teenager Mia Casey, who drowned in the river a year ago. It wasn抰 necessarily a suspicious death, but Sky can抰 stop wondering about what happened to Mia, especially after Mia抯 older brother, Luke, starts working at the record store. Mia, she begins to realize, moved in the same crowds as her older friend Nancy, who lives life even more on the edge than Sky realizes. Nancy Sky抯 only friend has helped Sky feel more mature and better about herself, but the surprise of Sky抯 feelings for Luke, reciprocated, and her new, unexpected connection with a girl from school help lessen the pain of Nancy抯 increasing unreliability. As the mysteries intertwine and unravel, Simmone Howell shows the ways life can be funny and warm and tense and tragic. Her superbly realized characters, including Sky抯 terrific family so flawed and yet loving and trying live in a neighborhood with rough edges and a mix of hearts and intentions. Howell抯 descriptions are at times astonishing for their freshness.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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