eLectio Publishing, 2013. 978-0615884738
Synopsis: Edna’s parents are at their wit’s end. Their daughter is constantly in trouble at school and she needs a wake-up call, but no good solution has presented itself. As a last resort, Edna is sent to spend the summer with her grandparents in Desert Palms where she is cut off from her phone and her computer. Bitter and angry, Edna is about to give up when she meets Johnny. Will her time in the desert cure her rebellious streak or will it create even more of a mess?
Why I picked it up: The author emailed me about reviewing the book and I loved the premise, so I agreed.
Why I finished it: My interest is always piqued when I hear about a story in which those of us obsessed with technology are forced to do without it. I can’t say I’m not guilty of hiding behind my cell phone just walking out on the street or even in social situations, but I’m trying to get better at this whole interacting-with-others bit. In this way, I’m no different from Edna. I’m always in a place where I am surrounded by signals that allow me to communicate via text or to look something up on the internet. But when she’s confronted with a situation in which she can’t use her usual methods of getting out, Edna is forced to find a different solution to her problem with what is available to her: a paper phone book and a rotary phone. While she is initially resistant (to put it mildly) to spending the summer with her grandparents, her acquaintance and budding romance with Johnny seems to help alleviate her boredom. She also becomes invested in getting to know her Grandma and Grandpa, the latter of whom is suffering from PTSD and rarely leaves the house. Lederman’s writing draws in the reader and as we go on this summer journey with Edna, we find ourselves just as changed as the protagonist. We learn to recognize Edna’s self-absorbed behavior as our own and it makes us think about what we could change to get us to be more in touch with the important people in our lives. Edna and the reader are forced to consider the consequences of our actions, to learn how to love much more fully and live a life that is richer. It’s a coming of age story that asks the reader hard questions without forcing an immediate answer. While the ending is somewhat bittersweet, we, like Edna, will have made a more positive change that we will be able to carry with us into the real world.
Other related materials: Salvaged by Stefne Miller; Rise by Stefne Miller; Collision by Stefne Miller; In Front of God and Everybody: Confessions of April Grace by KD McCrite; Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor; Interrupted: A Life Beyond Words by Rachel Coker; All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven; Paper Towns by John Green; Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver; It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini; We Were Liars by E. Lockhart; I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson; Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper