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My Tiki Girl

3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  590 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
My Tiki Girl
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 15th 2008 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
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(showing 1-30)
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Jan 21, 2014 Christine rated it it was amazing
A lot of people want to focus on the queer storyline, but I feel the larger theme here is mental illness. The instability, the escaping from reality, these moments shine through as signs of people searching for something. Their world feels comfortable but not safe, fun but not healthy. A place everyone should visit, but no one should stay in.
Feb 08, 2009 Patricia rated it it was amazing
Maggie Keller's life has been turned upside down because of an automobile accident. She used to be one of the popular girls but now she is just the dark, freaky girl with the bad leg. Then she meets Dahlia. This new girl brings Maggie out of her shell. Dahlia's mother suffers from depression and other mental issues, but her unpredictability and manic personality are just what Maggie needs. The entire story touches on the question "What is normal?" When Maggie finds herself falling in love with D ...more
May 18, 2009 Robin rated it really liked it
Not sure If I'm going to enjoy this book. I dislike the behaviors of all the characters. Stealing gas from cars in an AA meeting parking lot, and shoplifting for fun. I'm not liking it.... but we'll see.


Ok, I finished the book, and I change my mind, I did like the book. At first the concept of the "dolls", was a little weird. After reading more of the book, I realized the dolls, especially "Tiki girl" and "LaSamba", symbolize
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
I was hoping something would happen, like a serial killer bursts through the front door or a raving lunatic trying to kill someone. Nope. Just a mother coming of age story. Good but not really what I was looking for.
Feb 04, 2008 Laura rated it it was amazing
The story is about Maggie, a girl who used to be popular until a car accident killed her mother and left her with a scarred and limping leg. Maggie can't face her old popular friends, so she becomes close to one of the outcasts, Dahlia, who loves Sylvia Plath, wants to form a band, and has a crazy family. As Maggie gets wrapped up in the elaborate fantasy life Dahlia's family creates, Maggie also loses herself to the power and fear that is first love...with Dahlia.

I feel like I've read a lot of
Feb 07, 2013 Naomi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-imagination
I thought this book was very scandalous! You would never think this book was about two girls falling for each other. Soon later on boys start getting in the way of them, causing conflict. Watching how everything unfolds is really suspensful. for example Maggie realized Dahlia is falling in love with a bad boy from school, she tries to steal her away. Dahlia finally say how much Maggie cared for her and fell in love with her.
Definitely one of, if not the best, YA I've read. I like the way they weaved Escapism (and other psychological self defense/themes) into the story. Some characters are just so broken and they try to adjust by trying to make it seem normal by playing along even when it isn't. Yep, my eyes did tear up a bit on some parts ...
Piepie Beuttel
"Frankenstein girl" Maggie can't seem to forgive herself for her mother's death, and she meets a cast of quirky and zany characters, some of them real misfits and outcasts... and surprises herself by falling in love with her own "Tiki girl." Great pacing, memorable characters, and a coming of age story you won't soon forget.
Carolyn Grayson
Sep 17, 2011 Carolyn Grayson rated it did not like it
Not what I expected. I kept waiting for someone to be killed, some crazy psychopath to show such luck. Simple coming of age tale which isn't really my thing.
Michelle Brown
Feb 02, 2017 Michelle Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book. I would say that I "loved" this book but I must say I was confused. The first Jennifer McMahon book I read was Winter People. Then I read the rest of her books, saving My Tiki Girl for last (for no real reason, just did). ALL of her books, other than this one, were horror books, books with twists and turns. After Winter People I did not even bother to read the back of the book, the inside flap, nor did I get a synopsis of what was to come. So, the entire time I read My Tiki Gi ...more
Joshua Buhs
A departure for McMahon--that's not really that much of a departure.

This is the only McMahon book I had yet to read. It has the feel of being her very first book, though, at least in terms of publishing history, it is not. (Perhaps it was written first.) It's billed as her turn to YA after some psychological suspense fiction. But much of her psychological suspense fiction has a YA feel. And this book sneaks in some psychological suspense and even supernatural horror, which is the metier of McMah
Maggie Keller forgot Toto, and that is where everything turned upside down. She is Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz play at her school, and forces her mother to turn back. After an accident, not only does she lose her mother but her popularity as well. Now she is the outcast, with the bad leg. Then she meets Dahlia, the new girl. Dahlia forces her out of her shell, and teaches her to look at life a different way. Under the guidance of Dahlia and her mother, she becomes Tiki Girl. She is loved, and sh ...more
May 08, 2015 Dreamlina rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jaglvr for

Maggie Keller's life turned upside down the day she forgot Toto. In eighth grade, Maggie was cast as Dorothy, the lead in The Wizard of Oz. As her mom is driving her to rehearsal, Maggie shouts out that she forgot the stuffed dog at home. Her mom, without checking the traffic around them, turns the car around and causes an accident.

Maggie was once the most popular girl in her class. But after the accident, she has a deformed leg, and considers herself the
Samantha Boyette
Jul 20, 2012 Samantha Boyette rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Perhaps you've noticed my love affair with Jennifer McMahon? When you read three books by someone in a week, it becomes obvious that you are a little obsessed. Then comes the fall, the moment you realize that you have read all their books and the there is no more to read. Ironically, that's sorta what this book was like. Hard, fast love followed by the realization that your love story isn't forever.

Maggie has become a outcast by her own free will. After a car accident that killed her mom, she is
May 07, 2010 Kolleen rated it liked it

Jennifer McMahon is one of my favorite authors. I have read all of her books so far, and 3 1/2 stars would have been a better rating for this book. All of her books are eccentric, bizarre, strange, and slightly twisted, which I think is the main reason I like them. I always feel like I'm in some sort of perverted circus world a little bit when I read them (Is that weird?). And this one was no different, however I feel that her first attempt at a young adult novel was a little bit too provocativ

Jenni Frencham
Two years ago Maggie's life was irrevocably changed. A car accident shattered Maggie's leg and took the life of her mother. Maggie spent most of the year in the hospital and then recovering at home. Once a straight-A student and heavily involved in drama, Maggie's not sure who she is anymore. Her friends and classmates don't know who she is, either, and Maggie is feeling very alone.

Enter Dahlia. Dahlia lives with her mentally ill mother in the not-so-nice part of town. Maggie soon finds herself
Jan 22, 2014 Weezie rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, books-i-own, ya, lgbt
I really wanted to just love this book. I found it on a goodreads list of Queer “must reads” and was just generally stoked that the storyline wasn’t just about being queer and coming out but also dealt with mental illness, child neglect, PTSD, death of a parent (not a spoiler… it’s like in the first line of the book), and dealing with old/new friendships. Which would have made this book THE BEST BOOK EVER if the author had taken the time to explore all of these topics instead of lightly broachin ...more
Jun 04, 2009 Zuzia rated it liked it
Maggie Keller forgot Toto, and that is where everything turned upside down. She is Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz play at her school, and forces her mother to turn back. After an accident, not only does she lose her mother but her popularity as well. Now she is the outcast, with the bad leg. Then she meets Dahlia, the new girl. Dahlia forces her out of her shell, and teaches her to look at life a different way. Under the guidance of Dahlia and her mother, she becomes Tiki Girl. She is loved, and sh ...more
Mar 17, 2008 Nancy rated it really liked it
Maggie finds her old friendships and school don't hold much interest anymore after her mother dies in a car accident that she feels she was the cause of. She takes up with new girl and outsider Dahlia, and begins to spend lots of time with her and her wacky (read mentally ill) mother, and cute but disturbed younger brother, to the point of neglecting her schoolwork and ignoring her father. She falls in love with Dahlia, and Dahlia seemingly returns her feelings until others find out. Suddenly Da ...more
Maggie Keller used to be popular. She had the leading role in her Grade 8 school play. She had a mother that her friends loved. One car crash changed everything. Maggie's mother is dead. Her father is emotionally distant. With her scarred leg and severe limp, Maggie feels like Frankenstein girl and no longer connects with her old friends.

In Grade 10, a new girl appears to be the answer to Maggie's search for someone who will understand her. Dahlia Wainright is beautiful, but she doesn't follow f
Marissa Cunneen
Apr 08, 2013 Marissa Cunneen rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Although I feel like if I didn’t give it a chance I probably wouldn’t have liked it. I thought the “dolls” was a little weird along with a lot of the other details the author used. It was a really negative story for the most part. Jennifer McMahon had a real powerful opinion on relationships in this book. It was pretty accurate to a lot of teenagers now a days. One of the things I found really extraordinary about this book was that it hit almost all the feelings and ...more
Mar 17, 2010 Amy rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2010
Ok, I didn't read this story word for word, I got about halfway through before I couldn't take any more of it, and I just skimmed the rest. I didn't like it, maybe there was more the story than what I saw, but it was about two young girls falling in love, with each other. I thought it was going to be a mystery, as I have enjoyed the other two Jennifer McMahon books I have read, but this one I didn't really like at all. I felt sorry for Maggie, losing her mother and all, and I am sure it was hard ...more
Jan 23, 2011 Wendy rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-read-owned
This book was different from Jennifer's other books but I definitely identified with it. I had really bad depression with hallucinations and suffered with agoraphobia for many years. I immediately recognized the multiple personalities in Dahlia’s mother. A lot of people see this book as a coming of age love story, I saw it as a story about many different versions of depression and it’s ill effects on those around you. I know how I pushed away people and I saw how Maggie did the same thing. And w ...more
Feb 23, 2013 Amanda rated it it was ok
I hate to say I didn't like it... but I didn't like it. Crazy teenage drama romance just really isn't my thing. It definitely wasn't an awful book, but I just didn't really understand the point the book was trying to make. I am not the targeted age group and I don't struggle with my sexual identity, so I think that made me a little detached from the book. I would say that it is probably a wonderful book for younger readers who are trying to figure themselves out, but that just isn't me anymore. ...more
Nov 13, 2011 Soapykitty rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 07, 2016 Alex rated it liked it
Shelves: favorite-authors
I love McMahon's work and you could tell the difference between her work for adults and teens (just as a warning for her fans that pick this up). It took me a while to get into the narrative style of this book, but in the end I think the story is a strong one. I appreciate that there were a number of layers at play. On a personal preference level, I would have liked to have seen a lot of the aspects of the narrative delved into on a deeper level, but given that the book is geared for YAs, it mak ...more
Jan 17, 2008 Tammara rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: YA
Aside from the obligatory angst of teenage high school hell, 'My Tiki Girl' deftly explores the world of difference and the fallacies of preceptions.
There are several things I appreciate in 'My Tiki Girl': a complete cast of characters from the popular kids through a variety of 'misfits'; realistic dialogue and teenage attitudes; tough topics tackled from the impact of family tragedy to sexual identity; and the positive but non-fluff ending.
I'd definitely recommend this well-written YA novel.
Sep 19, 2013 Kimi rated it it was ok
I read this expecting it to be more like her other books. of course I saved this for last. I must say I was disappointed. I personally would have preferred not wasting time on this book, good thing it was short.

its a coming of age novel and maybe it was because I am past that stage in life but I felt it never really went anywhere or got terribly interesting. most of her books I cannot wait to read the ending and finish it in a couple of days this took forever to go somewhere and never quite mad
Rebecca Stephenson Chung
I really enjoyed Jennifer McMahon's others books and was interested to see how her YA book "My Tiki Girl" would fare. . .
McMahon has a talent for writing in such a way where you become so interested in the characters that you keep turning the page to what's going to happen to them.
I didn't realize this book was going to address topics of teenage sexuality and homosexuality in the way that it did, because I was so focused on Maggie's tragic loss of her mother, but McMahon did it in a tactful and
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I'm the author of seven suspense novels, including Promise Not to Telll, The Winter People, and most recently, The Night Sister . I live in central Vermont with my partner and daughter, in an old Victorian that some neighbors call The Addams Family house.
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“I've lived here ... my whole life. It's where I lost all my baby teeth. Where tiny hamster, gerbil, and bird skeletons lie in rotted-out cardboard coffins beneath the oak tree in our backyard. Also where, if some future archaeologist goes digging, they'll find the remains of a plush toy: a gray terrier named Toto I buried after the accident.” 7 likes
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