Taking a hard look at the societal constraints on teenage girls, Morris Award nominee Carrie Mesrobian tells one girl’s story with bracing honesty and refreshing authenticity.
By her senior year of high school, Rianne has exhausted all the fun there is to have in small-town Wereford, Minnesota. Volleyball season is winding down, the parties feel tired, and now that she’s in a serious relationship with reformed player Luke Pinsky, her wild streak has ended. Not that she ever did anything worse than most guys in her school...but she knows what everyone thinks of her.
Including her parents. Divorced but now inexplicably living together again, Rianne wonders why they’re so quick to point out every bad choice she’s making when they can’t even act like adults—or have the decency to tell Rianne whether or not they’re getting back together. With an uncomfortable home life and her once-solid group of friends now dissolving, the reasons for sticking around after high school are few. So why is Rianne locking step when it comes to figuring out her future?
That’s not the only question Rianne can’t answer. Lately she’s been wondering why, when she has a perfect-on-paper boyfriend, she wants anything but. Or how it is that Sergei, a broken-English-speaking Russian, understands her better than anyone who’s known her all her life? And—perhaps the most troubling question—why has Rianne gotten stuck with an “easy girl” reputation for doing the same exact things as guys without any judgment?
Carrie Mesrobian, acclaimed author of Sex & Violence and Cut Both Ways, sets fire to the unfair stereotypes and contradictions that persist even in the twenty-first century.
In small-town Wereford, Minn., high school senior Rianne has a reputation as an easy hookup: "She was Hat Trick Girl; she wasn't someone you took to prom." As graduation nears, Rianne finds herself with a steady boyfriend, a mother who has basically washed her hands of her, a father suddenly back in the picture, and no plans for what's next. As in her previous books, Mesrobian (Cut Both Ways) writes meaningfully about teens who aren't bound for college and the complexity, intensity, and double standards of teenage sexuality. Rianne's infamous "hat trick" night mostly involved kissing. Her first sexual encounter, as a sophomore, was clearly rape she was blitzed on pot, he was a college student though she just thinks of it as regrettable. And most of the sex she's had hasn't been particularly satisfying. This depressing picture changes when she hooks up with Sergei, an attractive Russian in his 20s. Genuine sexual pleasure is a decided improvement, but as Rianne and Sergei grow closer, it feels less like she's making decisions for herself and more like she's still being defined by sex and men. Ages 14 up.