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True Confessions of a Heartless Girl

by Martha  Brooks

Published by Melanie Kroupa Books / Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003
192 pages
ISBN: 0-374-37806-1

Ages 14 - 18

When 17-year-old Noreen Stall is stranded in the small prairie town of Pembina Lake, she has no idea the turns her life is about to take. The same is true for many others in the small community. Noreen's arrival seems to shake things loose. Pregnant and on the run from a boyfriend who, it turns out, was the best thing that had happened to her in a long time (his patience was almost saintly), Noreen wreaks havoc without even trying. In fact, the harder she tries to do good, the more trouble she seems to cause to the people in Pembina Lake who want to reach out a hand to her. In Martha Brooks' moving tale, humor and pathos live side by side. The omniscient narrative voice puts readers inside the head of myriad characters, from a seven-year-old boy, to his worn out single mother who owns the town café, to a middle-aged man still suffering from guilt over an accident that happened when he was a teen, to an aging woman who has cared for so many her entire life and isn't sure she has anything left to give. But connection triumphs over isolation, bringing out the best in people, renewing something deep within them, in this hopeful story that acknowledges the humanness of mistakes and imperfections and the importance of simply trying. Co-winner, CCBC Printz Award Discussion CCBC categories: Fiction for Young Adults.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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