Dec 16, 10
Read in April, 2007
** spoiler alert **
Tess Whistle’s lost it in more ways than one. Her life has gone crazy in short order – her best friend Zena is planning to blow up a poodle, her mother has gone to find herself in Utah, and the only stable thing in her life is her new relationship with Ben Easter, who, through an unfortunate misunderstanding, now believes she’s a diabetic. As her life gets more and more complicated, Tess finds herself clinging to Ben as the only safe port in the storm, but he’s a good guy. And he loves her. When Tess finally does lose her virginity to Ben it’s not quite the experience that she expected, but it’s not bad either. Before they really have a chance to explore what else might happen between them, Ben discovers Tess lied about her illness, and he doesn’t know what to believe or think about her. And as everything else in her life settles down, Tess feels the pain of his absence – the one person she was sure about.
This book starts out a little rocky. Tess has a unique and funny voice, but her thoughts wander all over the place and she often neglects to finish one thought before she’s moved on to another, which makes her narrative difficult to follow. Once she’s settled down, however, you get to enjoy her amusing choice of words and turns of phrase. Her grandma’s a hoot as well. We’re all left at the very end wondering what Ben will do, but Tess doesn’t seem particularly upset (a bit strange when she spends pages and pages whining to Zena about how much she misses Ben) – she’s uncharacteristically philosophical about it all. She suddenly realizes that rings aren’t promises and nothing is certain and people change their minds – good lessons, but she comes to them relatively easily and her story comes to an end before you really know how well they stick with her. Still, this was funny and sweet and teen girls will likely eat it up. It includes frank discussions of sex, although the act itself is not portrayed graphically.
"'Foundation is another word for practical lingerie. Have your breasts grown? Do you need a new brassiere? Do you need help measuring your bosom?'
My grandmother stared right at my chest as she asked her questions.
'That's very invasive of you,' I whispered, folding my arms and covering them up. 'And we're in public.'
'Filling out is a thing to be proud of. Have you tried a push-up brassiere? I think it's good to hoist the girls up as high as possible.'
My blushing intensified. My grandma noticed.
'Ah to be young,' she said. 'And embarrassed by your own breasts.'
'I'm not embarrassed by them,' I whispered. 'I just don't talk about them at the bagel shop. They're sacred.'
My grandmother shrugged. 'Boobs are boobs. And yours are quite nice.'
As I sat there, I couldn't wait to get to a phone and tell Ben about all my suffering. I'd been abandoned by my parents. My best friend had been shipped away. And my primary caregiver was obsessed with my breasts."