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My tiki girl
Book
2008
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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

Haunted by guilt that she caused her mother's fatal car accident, Maggie leaves her tenth-grade clique to take up with outsider Dahlia and her crazy family. The accident left Maggie lame, and she feels like Frankenstein. But what bothers her more is her fierce attraction to Dahlia. Does Dahlia love her back? In her first YA novel, McMahon, who has written for adults, weaves in a lot about friends and enemies, home and school, outsiders and their secrets, and too much detail about Dahlia's mentally ill mom (who takes the kids shoplifting) and the music group where Maggie finds a place. There's also too much about outsider kids, including Joey, who lives in a cave to escape his abusive dad. But many teens, gay and straight, will stick with Maggie's first-person, present-tense admission of her passionate love for Dahlia, the prejudice she faces (including her own mixed feelings), her denial, and her joy.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2008 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

An author for adults shifts her audience to teens with mixed success in this romance about two girls. The slow-paced plot hinges on familiar elements: a teenager whose mother has died, a strong sense of alienation and a surprisingly successful band. Tenth-grader Maggie, who was popular in junior high, attributes her current alienation to the car accident two years earlier that killed her mother, for which Maggie feels guilty. Calling herself "Frankenstein girl" because she limps, Maggie befriends another outsider, the new girl Dahlia. Much of the book details Maggie's growing love for Dahlia and her infatuation with the free-spirited but poor life Dahlia shares with her brother and mentally ill mother. Their romance, which becomes sexual, encounters problems and painful homophobia. The girls also start an implausibly good band with a handsome football star who falls for Dahlia. Although most of the other characters are not fully developed, Maggie and Dahlia grow and change through their romance and pain. Readers who like dreamy, even quasi-mystical, nonconformity may enjoy this slightly dark but ultimately hopeful romance. (Fiction. YA) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
Maggie was looking for a friend in Dahlia. She never guessed she’d find love, too.<p>All the tenth-grade girls hate Dahlia Wainwright—a smart, natural beauty and freaky outsider all in one. And that’s exactly what Maggie Keller is drawn to, for she herself is an outsider, having withdrawn from the high school elite crowd after a car accident that killed her mother—an accident for which she blames herself. But Dahlia’s friendship—a manic journey into new identities and outrageous behavior— transforms Maggie in ways she could never have imagined. In her stunning first young adult novel, bestselling adult author Jennifer McMahon paints a lush portrait of the healing power of love.
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