A well-executed first novel… Backes addresses guilt, deceit, homophobia, loyalty, and the burden of keeping up appearances in a brutally believable high school setting as Paige recognizes the weaknesses of loved ones and her own imperfections.
In this debut novel, Backes takes Dead Poets Society and brings it into the age of Mean Girls. Her writing style is witty while still being relatable, and the themes of acceptance and identity will ring true to teens… Backes re-creates a world that most teens already live in, with the overarching message that anyone can become more than what others perceive them to be.
—School Library Journal
This intelligent novel highlights the consequences of high school peer pressure, jealousy, and prejudice. The setting will be familiar to readers, most of whom have seen athletes and wealthy party girls perch at the top of the social hierarchy while everyone else revolves around the periphery… This novel demonstrates that even popular kids have challenges in high school. It reads smoothly without the weight of melodrama, in spite of the serious storyline. Paige is a likeable, convincing protagonist who engenders sympathy.
Backes’ smart debut hits high-schoolers with relevant issues… Paige’s first-person narration is powerful, and readers will identify with her evolution.