This is a wonderful story, very touching, funny in places, and a delight to read. Dana Reinhardt's writing comes across with enviable ease. The story centers around Simone, a teen who knows she was adopted, knows nothing about her birth mother, and wants to keep it that way.
During her junior year of high school, her birth mother suddenly iniatiates contact. Simone's parents encourage her to follow through with the contact, but Simone is fighting the subtle arguments. As with all teens, Simone's junior year is spinning with school and friends and crushes and with trying to find a center. Trying to figure out just who she is. And her birth mother is now available, possibly to help with this, whether she wants help from that direction or not.
Simone's story is beautifully realized without the over-the-top angst or trendy leanings found in many teen novels. Nothing seems a charicature, everything feels exactly real. Like in this scene where Simone's friend-since-diapers, Cleo, is sleeping over and Simone's little brother (a freshman) has just finished brushing his teeth and the girls are finishing up their nightly ablutions:
He pretends to be disgusted and quickly rinses his face in the sink. He has on a pair of blue and orange plaid pajama bottoms, slippers I gave him last Christmas that look like bear's feet (get it? He's in his "bear" feet?), and no shirt. Jake is really starting to fill out, and he tends to walk around shirtless whenever he can get away with it.
"Good night, ladies," he says, and even though Cleo's face is covered in apricot scrub and I've just started brushing my teeth, he flicks off the bathroom light.
And that's the charm of this book. That's exactly what a younger sibling would do, it's utterly believable, as is Simone's journey finding who she is.