May 27th 2010 by Philomel
Hardcover, 288 pages
When poor Boston girl Stephanie is abandoned by her abusive mother and taken in by Annie’s Beverly Hills family, she feels anything but home. Her dark complexion and accent stick out like a sore thumb in the golden-hued world of blondes and extravagance. These are girls who seem to live life in fastforward, while Stephanie is stuck on pause. Yet when a new rival moves to town, threatening Annie’s queen-bee status, Stephanie finds herself taking sides in a battle she never even knew existed, and that feeling invisible is a wound that can only be healed by standing up for who she is.--Goodreads
My heart took a beating in this book. Although slow in some chapters this book has VERY real and valid lessons. One: You have to be yourself in order do be happy with your life. Two: Lies are only temporary fixes and truths will always come out. Three: Surround yourself with honest good hearted people. Four: Do not give in to peer pressure. It will come back to haunt you later. All of these things play a huge roll in this book.
Stephanie is a young, sheltered, naive, abuse teen who doesn't know how to be who she is because she has been abuse all her life. Abuse, she has endured from the one person in the world who is supposed to love her the most. Her mother. I will never understand how a mother can abuse there own child. It's inconceivable to me but I know it happens every single day and it makes me so sad and angry.
The story is full of mean characters who I found myself really hating because they are so spoiled, selfish and horribly cruel to Stephanie. Throughout the book I wanted to cry for Stephanie because she had no one at all to turn to. Not ever her dad because he too was a victim of Stephanie's mother and didn't know how to connect with his daughter. Now, I'm not giving excuses for him because he is an adult and can defend himself and I will never understand how he could just stand by while he witnessed his daughter get beaten by his alcoholic wife. Ok, maybe I'm getting off subject a little but these people really p***ed me off. (Sorry!) So any who.. as the story goes on Stephanie has been cast off to LA (from Boston), to stay with a rich friend of her father who he has not seen in years. Lost and alone she is sent into the lions den. At first she is excepted and showcased by Annie and the fabulous four (NOT!) because of her Boston accent and the false image Stephanie has created to hide her past. When Annie finds out the truth about Stephanie she doesn't say "Oh, I'm so sorry about your mom abusing you and I understand why you would make up such huge lies about how wonderful your family is." No! Annie alienates Stephanie and treats her like a servant. It was really hard to read because I was so angry. Well as the story comes to a close Stephanie finally finds her voice and some hope by becoming friend with a girl she thought she hated.
The book ends on a happy note but this story kind of drug on and never had a balance of happy and sad situations. I felt that I was always either dumbfounded, sad, or ready to slap someone;-). This book will provoke deep emotions and introspection so keep the Kleenex and stress ball near by.
"...The worst thing was, no one could see me. When you are a ghost, you are invisible."
Drug-o-meter: There was underage drinking.
(W)-Mary Hanlon Stone's Website