My Tiki Girl by Jennifer McMahon

mytikiDutton, 2008. ISBN: 0525479430

Maggie finds her old friendships and school don’t hold much interest anymore after her mother dies in a car accident that she feels she was the cause of. She takes up with new girl and outsider Dahlia, and begins to spend lots of time with her and her wacky (read mentally ill) mother, and cute but disturbed younger brother, to the point of neglecting her schoolwork and ignoring her father. She falls in love with Dahlia, and Dahlia seemingly returns her feelings until others find out. Suddenly Dahlia wants nothing more than to fit in with the popular kids, and Maggie is left out in the cold. Meanwhile, Dahlia’s family is racing toward implosion, and despite their problems, Maggie tries to be there for her friend. In the critical end, Maggie must call on her father to act as the adult in a situation that has spun way out of Dahlia’s or Maggie’s control.

An honest book that looks at issues of death, alcohol abuse, alienation, class differences, and mental illness, along with the joys of first love, sexuality, and the importance of family.

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Filed under **** Highly recommended, 2000s

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