Becca's Reviews > The Tribes of Palos Verdes

The Tribes of Palos Verdes by Joy Nicholson
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's review
Nov 16, 08

Read in November, 2008, read count: 2

I have been recommending this to a lot of people lately, so I decided to give it another read to make sure it merits my praise. I have demoted it a star and now feel too hesitant to actually RECOMMEND it to anyone. It is well written, to be sure, but it is hardly tame in its presentation of this girl's sexual life.

An insightful book reflecting some interesting struggles that teen girls are facing, especially in the materialistic climate of coastal Southern California. The heroine of this novel, Medina Mason, struggles with her parents' divorce, her brother's growing drug problem, and her own mistakes as she tries to find a place in her peer group. It's scary to take this journey with her as you repeatedly feel your heart break with hers. This is well-written and fun/interesting journey. Unlike any other adolescent novel I've read. Deals honestly and sincerely with troubling issues.

To be fair, Nicholson uses Medina Mason's sexual mistakes as a yardstick by which to measure the character's mental stability as the world around her falls apart. But, though this chronicles Medina's life ages 13-16, I think it would take the maturity of an older high school student at least to pick up on that subtle difference between what Medina Mason does to feel better about herself, and what behavior is self-destructive in its indulgence. The sometimes explicit tellings of her encounters are not easy to digest, but they are not meant to be--Medina Mason does not live in a carefully sheltered environment. Actually makes me wonder why being 'sheltered' is considered such a horrible thing in the first place.
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