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Inside Out Girl

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  1,176 ratings  ·  151 reviews
Rachel Berman wants everything to be perfect. An overprotective single mother of two, she is acutely aware of the statistical dangers lurking around every corner—which makes her snap decision to aid a stranded motorist wholly uncharacteristic. Len Bean is stuck on the shoulder with Olivia, his relentlessly curious, learning disabled ten-year-old daughter. To the chagrin of ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 12th 2008 by Harper Perennial
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Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,176 ratings  ·  151 reviews

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Aug 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
This not only had a lot of potential, but also a really good start, which made the rest of it super disappointing.
When the novel first opens, I, who didn't bother reading too much of the back of the book, thought to myself, sheesh this writer does not know ten year olds at all, the only way this scene makes sense is if the kid is special needs - and a quick check on the back and yes, she is - so I had a lot of respect for her ability to capture something so tricky.
The writing was strong and rema
Jan 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
I generally love Tish Cohen's writing style. She definitely tells both sides of the story. When reading you get a sense of the characters not just from the protagonists opinion but there is usually good story telling that allows the reader to establish an opinion of the character without forming too much of a bias.

This book is incredibly touching. It focuses on two adults, both of whom had been through a lot in their lives, and how upon first meeting each other really liked each other but both h
Celia Kennedy
Sep 05, 2013 rated it liked it
I read several of the other reviews before writing this to see what others thought. For some reason this is a tricky book to review. I would agree with others when they say that there are too many plot lines and that expanding on one or two more would have been better than adding the rest.

Rachel Berman is the editor of a parenting magazine that is going under, as well as the mother of a 12 and 14 year old. So, not only is she dealing with professional crisis, she is dealing with snarky pubescent
Another cast of oddball characters from Tish Cohen, this one is a keeper. Like Turtle in 'The Bean Trees', Olivia Bean is great kid character. Goofy, tragic and funny at the same time, it makes for an easy read.

Olivia suffers from a Non Verbal Learning Disability, she doesn't recognize tone, facial expression or humour cues, strictly verbal ones. Makes her completely charming and unintentionally funny. I learned a lot about rats too, as she's obsessed with rodents. Rattus rattus.
Kara Babcock
I'm not a parent. And in the last couple of years, I haven't had much interaction with children (although that will change as my nephew grows up). As I began reading Inside Out Girl, my first challenge was to try and see everything through a parent's eyes. I had to work hard not to dismiss Rachel as an over-the-top mother figure and not to roll my eyes at the behaviour of Olivia, Janie, and Dustin. This is a world I have never really inhabited—even my childhood was atypical, as I tended to get a ...more
May 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 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 (No ...more
Dawn Michelle
Nov 02, 2008 rated it it was ok

NOT an awesome start to the new year. NOT really my cup of tea, though there were parts that were super-sweet and fantastic. Just not enough to go higher than 3 stars. Rachel was almost ALWAYS annoying, right up to the last 3 chapters and that made it a tough read. And the secondary storyline with the daughter Janie felt forced and contrived. Like the trauma of having a special needs child who lost her mother wasn't drama enough for the book. It made the book feel false and again, annoying.
Oct 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: won-t-finish
Okay, if you get into snarky children and mothers who allow anything and impossible situations and improbable lifestyles meshing, you'll like this book. I didn't. The relationship between Len and his daughter Olivia was the only part of this book I enjoyed. All the rest were one-dimensional twits. I made it to chapter 18 before quitting. At least I didn't pay for this book!
This book isn't out yet, but it is a wonderful novel about family and a little girl with Nonverbal Learning Disorder. Extremely well written and touching. I highly recommend it.
Orla Hegarty
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sentbynlpl, lesbian
I gobbled it up. I was gonna toss at @ 50 pages in but that lesbian teenager peeked my interest.

It's a 2008 publication sent at random to me from my 'books by the box' provincial librarian and I am grateful she sent me this for a great 6 hours of escape.
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.4 stars
Oct 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Olivia refuses to allow Georgia Boy to be buried. The gerbil is stiff, dead that long, but little Olivia Bean can't quite register the idea of death. She has a learning disorder known as NLD (nonverbal learning disability, causing her to operate on a very literal level), but come to think of it ... most of us have trouble understanding death.

And so we are introduced, beginning with Olivia, to the cast of characters in Tish Cohen's "Inside Out Girl." They are not so very unlike the characters in
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Marta Morrison for

Olivia Bean is an odd duck. She is ten years old, wears mismatched clothes sometimes inside out, never brushes her hair, and always talks about rats. She has NLV, which is Nonverbal Learning Disorder. It is a neurological condition that can prevent a person from understanding anything that is not verbal. They will comprehend your words but will not get subtext and can never understand sarcasm.

Len, her father, has been raising Olivia on his own ever
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-harper-books
When Rachel, an overprotective divorced mother of two and editor in chief of Parenting magazine decides to help out a fellow driver with a flat tire in the middle of morning rush hour, she has no idea this man, Len, and his peculiar little girl, ScarlettOlivia, are going to change her life dramatically. She quickly finds herself falling in love with Len and can’t help but feel a strong connection to Olivia, who has NLD – a non-verbal learning disorder. Similar to autism, children with this disor ...more
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Rachel was an overprotective single mother of Janie and Dustin. Len was lawyer struggling with his disabled daughter Olivia. Olivia had Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD), which caused her to have high verbal skill, but low social or visual skill. when the 2 adults got to know each other, Janie was horrified to find out that the most bullied girl in school was going to be her sister. while everyone was having trouble adjusting, Len found out that he had a tumor in his head, having only a few year ...more
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
There are a few surprises here and there, but I don’t want to give any away. This was a very enjoyable book about issues that most families are dealing with. I loved her writing style and the story moved at a fast pace. I think you will enjoy getting to know Olivia, as I did, and becoming a little more informed about a disorder that is closely linked to autism (but not the same). And Janie’s story will bring back the early teen years when whatever someone said about you at school one day had the ...more
Cassie Hager
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
This was a cute, warm, story. It was predictable with a few minor twists. I enjoyed how tolerant and understanding the author was of the young female characters. Rachel's character development felt truthful and I liked the way it was played out with regards to her magazine. However I felt that a lot of the story could have been more in depth and developed more slowly. It was a very fast read and left me feeling like I had missed a lot of what wasn't written on the page. The biggest issue I had w ...more
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
4.5 out of 5 stars
Rachel Berman, single mother if two adolescents, publisher of Perfect Parent magazine, likes her world organized and predictable. Widower Len Bean and his high maintenance, special needs daughter Olivia is not in her plan. The child reminds Rachel of the Down syndrome infant she was forced to relinquish at the age of eighteen. But Rachel and Len are drawn together. Crises bring Olivia closer to Rachel than she ever wanted to be.
Writer Tish Cohen does a nice job switching POVs
Feb 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
A little girl, age 10, has what's called a Nonverbal Learning Disability which is similar to Asperger's. She is not good at reading nonverbal cues (facial expressions, tone of voice) and she is bullied at school. Her widowed dad meets a single mom of 2 slightly older kids and they hit it off. The older kids are mortified that they have to associate with this child who does not fit in. At the same time, the older daughter is going through some "love life" issues. And their mom is reminded of a ha ...more
Apr 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"A life-affirming novel...You'll find yourself cheering for Olivia Bean from the first page to the last." Michelle Richmond, New York Times

So says the cover, so say I. The book is real, funny, a little bit sad, and in the end uplifting. I couldn't help but be captivated by Olivia. Not sympathetic, not sorry for her, delighted by her.

Interesting insight into NLD (nonverbal learning disorder), which I'd never heard of before. Thankfully, not a "poor kid" perspective at all. Rather, a view of the
Lisa Mcbroom
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
The book has a promising start. Rachel Berman stops on the side of the road to help single father Len with his special needs child Olivia to change a tire. They start dating much to the chagrin of Rachel's punk rock daughter Janie and son Dustin. The first part of the book is wonderful. It is the second part of the novel that things bog down. So many unresolved issues.... A deceision Len must face, Janie's obsession with a neighbor, and a secret Rachel harbours. This almost needs a sequel to tie ...more
Jul 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
It is clear to see why this book was a best seller in the "Globe and Mail" newspaper. Inside Out Girl is an easy page turner. Readers can sympathise with Rachel's attempts to be the perfect parent. Olivia is a real, realistic heroine with a disability, and Tish Cohen did a wonderful job of developing her character. While the subplot involving Rachel's daughter was weak, the conclusion is optimistic and well planned.
Christy Evans
Nov 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Overall, this is a quick and easy read that tackles some tough topics including death, illness, special needs children, homosexuality and bullying. This is another book that I wanted to like more than I did.

The story moves along quickly but the characters seem oddly predictable and one-dimensional. Without giving anything away, I felt that the ending was too "pat" and lacked a sense of realism of what would likely come next, especially in regards to the life of ten year old Oliva.
Michelle Winters
Jan 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
It was busy and not able to evote my full attention to this book when I first started but as I got into it I liked it more and more. By the time I finished I wished it was longer. It's quirky, doesn't take the "safe" route on someweighty topics and though not a tear-jerking ending, it didn't wrap ti up with the perfect "happily ever afet" bow either.
Laura Cobrinik
Jun 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Tish Cohen's book, "Inside Out Girl," is a heart-wrenching book about how parents cope with their problem and confused child, Olivia They try to find the right doctor, schools, and other children for Olivia to play with.
Set in modern times.

Although Cohen's book was a very painful book to read I was compelled to read it until its "bitten end." Luckily this book was a novel. I would not wish this problem on my worst enemy. I was able to cry and at some points laugh as I red through it....
Laura Cob
Susan Bazzett-Griffith
This was a likable, poignant novel filled with lifelike, realistic characters, and wrapped messily and with love and several awkwardly placed bows. I couldn't help but be charmed by Olivia and Janie (not so much with Dustin, but eh) and their single parents. The story of how these families find each other and help each other is more than a typical slice of life book, and instead is one with winding subplots and unexpected twists, while navigating themes of acceptance, death, and different kinds ...more
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inside Out Girl is a wonderfully written story of families learning and growing from each other. Rachel tries to be the perfect parent: monitoring what her kids eat, having clear rules, and a 100% honesty principle. Everything should be perfect.
Len has had his share of imperfect moments as a widowed parent, raising a young daughter with a learning disability. The two meet, fall in love, and try to blend their imperfect families.
Jan 09, 2017 rated it liked it
A sweet story of two single parents and a budding romance, a learning disabled sweet little girl, and a coming of age with a little twist. Simple but well written, this was a quick and enjoyable light read.
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it
A sweet story.

I wish Rachel didn't drink so much. It's true that some mothers can get through parenting without drinking.

I also wish Rachel wasn't such a helicopter mother. She eased up at the end, and that's a good thing.

So much opportunity here & so much heartache.
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed it

Interesting family dynamic and everything wasn't resolved, just like in real life. Olivia was her own person and we need to see others who are unlike ourselves as people.

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"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
Anais Nin quote from Oprah's website inspired Tish Cohen to write her first adult novel.

Tish Cohen is the author of TOWN HOUSE, a 2008 finalist for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize – Best First Book Award (Canada and Caribbean region), and in development as a feature film with Fox 2000. Ridl

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