REVIEWFor as long as she can remember, fifteen-year-old Lizzy has been a serious student who wants to be a doctor and isn't distracted by boys or any fun activities like cheerleading. But that was before Andy Masters--the newest and most popular guy who flirted with her; before she made the cheerleading team; and before she had to carry around a 5-pound bag of flour--her "flour baby"--as part of sex education in Health.
To increase the tension, the week of the flour baby is also April Fool's week, false fire alarm riddle the school, and Lizzy ends up in detention. She looks down at the other students in detention and gets angry with the teacher who accuses her of not being the sweet person she has portrayed to everyone in the school. In this mirror moment, Lizzy begins to see herself in a different way.
I know since I've had this crush on Andy I've morphed into this totally different person, and I've totally forgotten a lot of stuff and done handsprings on the soccer field during a school evacuation and gotten a few extra flour babies...Maybe it will kill my parents when they find out everything I've done this week.
... I'm filled with fury, and then it turns into something else. I realize that up until this afternoon I've been judging everyone in this room. (p.80)
True to her investigative nature, Lizzy tries to figure out who is setting the fire alarms. She even wonders if Andy, as the high school reporter/broadcaster, initiated the fire drills to make a journalistic point. Is he a creep or a good guy? Her affection for him is tested on several occasions; she ends up feeling ashamed for lying to her parents and for her poor decisions during her first babysitting job.
I'm always impressed when an author portrays and uses secondary characters well. After her downfall, Lizzy has a heart to heart talk with her parents. She confesses to feeling bad over how she treated a boy who irritated her. Her father's reply is a message teens need to hear:
Well, when I said to be nice to everyone, I guess I meant to be kind and cordial to everyone. That doesn't mean you have to be best friends with someone you don't want to be close to...You're allowed not to hang out with him. You're allowed to set boundaries. (p. 174)Her mother chimes in with great advice that I hope girls (and women!) who read this book will take to heart:
"Someone who loves you will never ask you to compromise yourself." (p. 176)
Kudos to Lisa Kline for showing a teenage girl conflicted over her desires to want a boy to like her and concerns about giving up her self. This clean book for young adults realistically portrays sex education and is a welcome addition to the young adult genre that is heavily infused with poor parent-child relationships and characters experimenting with sex and drugs.
And by the way--the ending is perfect!!
I have a gently used paperback to give to one of you. If you share this post on social media or become a new follower of my blog, I'll add your name twice. Just let me know what you do in the comments and please leave your email address if you are new to my blog. A winner will be drawn on April 4.