Mar 17, 15
Read in February, 2012
There are a ton of books about the first coming of age, the transition from childhood into adolescence, but I haven't read many about the second coming of age, the transition from adolescence into adulthood. In that sense, this book was original and refreshing. It explores the process of growing up the second time and accepting the responsibilities that come with being grown up. It seemed a bit convenient that all three girls faced crises that made this process immediate and inevitable, but I guess that's why it's a book and not real life. Their crises are also all resolved neatly in the span of the book, which bothered me a little in its Hollywood perfection, but also not a big deal.
The characters were a little bit stereotyped in the sense that they all fit into their roles as the responsible eldest, the overlooked and attention-seeking middle child, and the babied youngest. I also found the first-person-plural narrator and random use of Shakespeare quotes a little weird, but not annoying. Still, I liked all of the characters and saw a lot of myself in Rose (which made her less grating because she might have been the least likable of the three). I actually liked Bean, despite the fact that I would strongly disapprove of her in real life, and Cordy is also likable despite being exasperatingly useless most of the time.
The struggles of each of the characters became a bit too rote because it happened almost exactly the same to all three--the crisis, the escape home, the continued indulgence in familiar sins, the final great relapse, followed by the big redemption. And I'm sure the narrative was a bit heavy-handed at times, but I actually appreciate that because subtlety is generally lost on me. So overall I liked this book. It probably wouldn't have wowed me as much if it had been a me-too book like all the dystopian children's fantasy books or vampire fiction out there right now, but it does stand on its own, with good characters who find themselves in hard situations.