A lot of the books for older teen girls that don't involve
glittery vampires or other elements of the supernatural are painfully
superficial and materialistic. She lands a fabulous internship, meets
the perfect boy, only he hasn't gotten the memo that they're meant to
be together. Puhleeze. Nothing has changed in decades other than she
being a cheerleader and he being football team captain.
Lava Mueller's Don't Tell is a striking exception. Told in four
voices, set in 1979, it follows four girls, best friends seemingly
forever, as they navigate the end of their anything but ordinairy
senior year of high school. There's:
*Mary who starts the book off by ingesting toxic substances and hoping
she won't be found too soon. Only what looks like a suicide attempt
may be a much more complex plan;
*Zana, daughter of famous psychiatrists who thinks her parents are as
crazy as their patients. She knows they have a major league secret
housed at the local psychiatric hospital and resents their refusal to
acknowledge the truth;
*Berrie, who has her own secrets. She pretends the family dog has
just wandered off rather than tell her parents she ran over and buried
it. Her choices of boys for intimate relations could get her in deep
*and innocent Lili, track athlete and school play lead, who must carry
Mary's secret even believing that her best friend's plans are not in
her best interests.
The story is set in a small town in Maine. But it could be anywhere
young women come of age.
On a personal note, I played detective while reading it. For some
reason I was sure it was set it Orono. I kept finding these clues--
steam plant, College Avenue, University--than confirmed my intuition.
Still don't know, but it was fun.
A great big shout out goes out to our daughters as they navigate their
complex and compelling worlds.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod