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Josie's never met her dad, and that's fine with her. To Josie, Paul Tucci is just a guy who got her mom pregnant and then moved away. It all happened sixteen years ago, when Josie's mom was still a teenager herself. But now Paul Tucci is back in town, and Josie has to deal with not one but two men in her life - her father and her first boyfriend, who Josie fears will hurt her just like Paul hurt her mother.
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Natasha Friend was born to an English professor father and a poet/actress mother. She was raised in a house without a television. At the time, she thought this was the worst form of child abuse. Now, she understands the method to her parents’ madness: they wanted her to be a reader. Spending most of her childhood at the Hamilton Public Library, Natasha found her mecca, the young-adult section, and her hero, Judy Blume. She, too, wanted to write stories about girls who felt alone. Girls whose parents were screw-ups. Girls with spunk and spirit and resolve.
Natasha began dictating stories to her father, who typed them up on his 1930’s Remington typewriter. Most involved rainbows, unicorns, and poor orphan girls discovering treasure. She knew she was supposed to be a writer in seventh grade, when a sweet boy gave her a love poem and she felt compelled to correct it for syntax and rhyme scheme. Today, Natasha is the award-winning author of Perfect, Lush, Bounce, For Keeps, and My Life in Black and White. When she isn’t writing, she is building forts and making chocolate-chip pancakes. Natasha lives on the Connecticut shoreline with her husband, three children, and dog, Beckett.
Grade 7 Up—Josie's junior year is more eventful than she had expected. While navigating her first serious romance, she must come to terms with the fact that her mother has a boyfriend for the first time in 16 years. Josie has never known her father, who moved out of state with his family before she was born. When her paternal grandparents move back into town, she has to face the possibility of meeting him. This fast-paced story takes many twists and turns as the teen discovers the truth behind her parents' separation and her father's absence. Josie is humorous and sincere as she narrates both her mother's struggle and her own to let go of the past and embrace new relationships. The book discusses sex and abortion, and includes adult language and underage drinking. Many readers will be able to relate to this protagonist, whose strength and maturity set a positive example. Friend skillfully portrays the challenges of adolescence while telling an engaging story with unique and genuine characters.—Erin Carrillo, formerly at Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL
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