by Natasha Friend

Scholastic (2006)

ISBN13: 9780439853477

Plot Summary

Critical Evaluation

Reader’s Annotation

Information about the Author

Natasha Friend was born to an English professor father and a poet/actress mother. She was raised in a house without a television. At the time, she thought this was the worst form of child abuse. Now, she understands the method to her parents’ madness: they wanted her to be a reader.

Spending most of her childhood at the Hamilton Public Library, Natasha found her mecca, the young-adult section, and her hero, Judy Blume. She, too, wanted to write stories about girls who felt alone. Girls whose parents were screw-ups. Girls with spunk and spirit and resolve.

Natasha began dictating stories to her father, who typed them up on his 1930’s Remington typewriter. Most involved rainbows, unicorns, and poor orphan girls discovering treasure.

She knew she was supposed to be a writer in seventh grade, when a sweet boy gave her a love poem and she felt compelled to correct it for syntax and rhyme scheme.

Today, Natasha is the award-winning author of Perfect, Lush, Bounce, For Keeps, and My Life in Black and White.

When she isn’t writing, she is building forts and making chocolate-chip pancakes.

Natasha lives on the Connecticut shoreline with her husband, three children, and dog, Beckett.

Genre: Fiction

Awards: International Reading Association Y.A. Choice, Rhode Island Teen Book Award, A.L.A. Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers

Content Area: Health and Human Growth;

Booktalk Ideas

Text Measures/Reading Level:

Quantitative: Lexile Level: 550; ATOS 3.2

Reading Level: CCSS grade bands K–1 and 2–3

Interest Age: Middle Grades Plus (MG+ 6 -12)

Challenge Issues: 

This book made the ALA’s Top Ten Banned and Challenged List for 2010 and has faced challenges due to it’s inclusion of drug and alcohol use and sexually explicit content. However, these subjects are dealt with in an age-appropriate manner for a YA audience and are explored in a way that is meaningful and constructive for the reader. One other possible reason for challenges is the inclusion of a gay character who befriends Sam, the main character, in the story.

Always check the American Library Association website for strategies and tips in handling challenges to library materials at

GLBTRT Book Challenge resources and evaluation guidlines for LGBT materials for teens, go to the ALA website at and the GLBTRT website at

Additional/Digital Content:

Author Website:

Book Trailer:

Why This Book?


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