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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*Beware That Girl* by Teresa Toten- young adult book review
Also by Teresa Toten:

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
Beware That Girl
by Teresa Toten
Grades 10+ 336 pages Delacorte May 2016 Hardcover    

As the novel opens, a girl is lying unconscious in a hospital bed and another one is keeping a close watch on her when the police appear to question them. Abruptly, author Teresa Toten takes readers back to the beginning of the story some six months earlier, when Kate OíBrien first notices Olivia Sumner at Waverly School where they are both students.

Kate is a scholarship student who lives in a converted storage room in the basement of Chenís Chinese Market and Apothecary, where she works to make ends meet. Olivia is a wealthy but lonely girl with mental issues. Both girls are ambitious, but when they get together, trouble follows.

Kate desperately tries to fit in to the elite culture of Waverly, despite the fact that she is poor and alone. ďIím not a pathological liar and I donít lie for fun. I only lie because I have to. Thing is, Iíve always lied, because Iíve always had to.Ē (p. 3) Her horrific past has led her to redefine herself as a scholarship student at the prestigious school. In sharp contrast, Olivia Sumner has always been wealthy, but has suffered because of the death of her mother, the constant travelling of her father, and her own challenging mental issues.

The two girls become friends, and Olivia invites Kate to live in her luxury apartment. When handsome and charming Mark Redkin becomes the schoolís new fundraising director and starts dating Olivia, Kate realizes that he is using Olivia to get to her. How far will they go to get his attention?

This well-written novel is a thrilling read thanks to its fast-paced narrative about two young ladies dealing with the brutal high school culture of Waverly. The unique narrative style alternates between Kateís first-person narrative and Oliviaís third-person narration, giving readers insight into the inner worlds of both girls. Readers will continually wonder who was in the hospital bed in the very first chapter. Was it Kate or was it Olivia?

Toten maintains a high level of suspense while dealing with many important issues such as: sexuality, domestic abuse, violence, drug addition, peer pressure, manipulation, poverty, loneliness, wealth and mental illness.

Teresa Toten is an award-winning writer for young readers who currently lives in Toronto. She has authored the acclaimed Blondes series as well as The Game, The Onlyhouse, and The Taming with Eric Walters. She has won several awards including the Schneider Family Book Award and the Canadian Governor Generalís Literary Award for The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B. Beware That Girl is a rare combination of teenage angst, mystery, and dark psychological thriller, recently optioned for a movie production.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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