Title: Where You’ll Find Me
Author: Natasha Friend
Recommended for: 7th Grade and Up
Call Number/Link: Teen Fiction Friend, N.
Synopsis: The first month of school, thirteen-year-old Anna Collette finds herself…
Dumped by her best friend, Dani, who suddenly wants to spend eighth grade “hanging out with different people.”
Deserted by her mom, who’s in the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt.
Trapped in a house with her dad, a new baby sister, and a stepmother young enough to wear her Delta Delta Delta sweatshirt with pride.
Stuck at a lunch table with Shawna the Eyebrow Plucker and Sarabeth the Irish Stepper because she has no one else to sit with.
But what if all isn’t lost? What if Anna’s mom didn’t exactly mean to leave her? What if Anna’s stepmother is cooler than she thought? What if the misfit lunch table isn’t such a bad fit after all?
With help from some unlikely sources, including a crazy girl-band talent show act, Anna just may find herself on the road to okay.
My review: This one got off to a shaky start, but it got better as it went. I love how it handled mental illness (in this case bipolar two) and how a child would deal with it. It was very realistic approach and especially liked all the times she thought back on how her mom did something odd and if the illness had caused that or not. And of course, there were plenty of feelings of abandonment and she tried to figure out how to deal with this new diagnoses (up from depression) and her mother’s attempted suicide.
Friend also touches on divorce and how awkward she feels in her father’s new family, especially sine she thinks like the new wife is a betrayal to her mother. But the more time she allows Marnie (step-mom) in, the more she starts to like/accept her. The trip to Atlanta was great because it showed Anna that you could be spontaneous without going overboard. Plus, it was a good experience for her to get away/bond with Marnie.
And if that wasn’t enough, she has to deal with being dumped by her best friend as she climbs the social ladder. At first, this is devastating, but she hooks up with a group of “outcasts” and really finds her place. It’s fun watching Anna grow with these new group of friends and really seems to find her stride by the end.
All in all, a great realistic novel that should easily been giving to teens who life the tougher issues w/o a lot of sex talk.