How do you live your life if your past is based on a lie? Find out in this “satisfied and moving story” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) in both verse and prose from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Ellen Hopkins.
For as long as she can remember, it’s been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel’s mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.
Maya’s a teenager who’s run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she’s isolated with a baby on the way, and life’s getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.
Ariel and Maya’s lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel’s mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.
In bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s deft hands, Ariel’s emotionally charged journey to find out the truth of who she really is balances beautifully with Maya’s story of loss and redemption. This is a memorable portrait of two young women trying to make sense of their lives and coming face to face with themselves—for both the last and the very first time.
Once again tackling difficult subject matter through elegantly crafted free verse, Hopkins (Traffick) tells the story of 17-year-old Ariel; her father, Mark; and Maya, also 17, who jumps into a relationship with an older man to escape her mother. Mark is an alcoholic drifter, prone to angry and violent outbursts. He has finally settled down long enough for Ariel to finish an entire school year in Sonora, Calif., where Ariel has allowed herself to develop real friendships and even consider the possibility of finding love. Hopkins uses spare yet poignant language to convey Ariel's simultaneous joy and fear as she begins to explore her sexuality ("the need to embrace/ this part of myself/ is escalating") while dealing with an abusive, homophobic, and controlling parent. Maya, whose chapters are written in first-person prose, intersects with Mark and Ariel's lives in an unexpected way, deepening the story's exploration of identity. Hopkins creates a satisfying and moving story, and her carefully structured poems ensure that each word and phrase is savored. Ages 14 up.