Drebbles's Reviews > Inside Out Girl

Inside Out Girl by Tish Cohen
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's review
May 07, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 2008
Read in September, 2008

As publisher of Perfect Parent magazine, single mother Rachel Berman tries to live up to the title of her magazine and consequently she is at times overprotective of her children -Janie, 14 and Dustin, 12. Still trying to cope with a heartbreaking decision she made years earlier, she is not one to take chances and is surprised to find herself helping stranded motorist Leonard Bean and his ten year old daughter Olivia. Leonard is a single parent himself, struggling to raise Olivia who has NLD (Nonverbal Learning Disorder). Rachel and Len start dating but soon will be dealing with circumstances that will forever change both their lives.

"Inside Out Girl" is a moving if somewhat melodramatic novel. Author Tish Cohen has created two believable lead characters - Rachel and Leonard - who are doing the best they can as single parents. Len is the more believable of the two as Rachel sometimes seems out of touch with the real world and her children's feelings. Olivia, of course, is the real stand out character. Cohen paints a vivid picture of what a child with NLD is like and it's heartbreaking to see how she is bullied and misunderstood by the other children and adults (and it's hard not to cringe at times reading about Olivia's hamster). Janie is the other standout character - she hides her feeling behind jokes and it is at times painful to read as she struggles to attract the attention of her first crush. Dustin didn't really register as a character for me.

While the book is interesting and at times hard to put down, it is a bit overdone. There is not a lot of happiness in the book and a great deal of sadness. It seems like everything that can happen to these two families does - including illness, death, bullying, accidents, money worries, etc. A little of this goes a long way and a little humor would have made the book easier to read.

"Inside Out Girl" is a well written novel, but tough to take at times.
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