Friday, January 7, 2011

Sticky Fingers - Niki Burnham

Bulletproof, that's how Jenna Kassarian sees herself. It's all about control: As long as she works hard, nothing can hurt her. So Jenna constantly pushes — for perfect grades, the ideal boyfriend, the best, best friend.
 
The only problem is, she doesn't know if she can stop. If she relaxes even for a second, she's afraid she'll lose control completely.
 
Then Jenna decides it's now or never. She goes to a party and has one drink. But one drink is all it takes for her perfect facade to shatter. Suddenly she realizes straight A's can't protect you in the real world. -- From Bn.com

This book was not at all what I was expecting, and that's a good thing.  I figured it would be the pretty cliched deal about a heroine whose on track for great things and then decides to start partying and chucks it all away.  Jenna, and Niki Burnham, really surprised me.

Jenna was a pretty consistent character in the story.  She stays strong, she stays on track, despite the fact that her friends are the ones self-destructing around her.  She does make a couple bad choices, but on the whole, she stays pretty true to who she really is...working toward her Harvard goal and staying pretty focused.  She does spend a great deal of her time angsting over what her friends are up to, but this was a pretty realistic reaction to some of the things going on around her.  The fact that she's able to power through and continue speaks well of her character.

This is one of those stories that if I said too much more I might give away something really important.  I will just add that when "the big event" happens later in the book, I was completely thrown.  Boy, did I never see that one coming.  It was the furthest thing from my mind as being a possibility.  It wasn't until it happened, and I thought back over the events leading up to it, that I realized how well the author had set us up for this event to occur.  I was shocked, but not surprised.  Great job, Niki Burnham!

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is up for a more serious read about some real issues that teens face, both on a daily basis, and on a not so common basis.  Despite the fact the fact that "the big event:" was inexcusable, you could definitely see the "villain's" point of view and see where "the villain" would think their actions to be explainable.  To me, that's the best type of villain...the kind where you hate their actions, but at the same time, you can understand how they might think they didn't do anything wrong.

A very good read... well worth the time.

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