Saturday, September 15, 2018

Returnable Girl by Pamela Lowell

Returnable Girl is a YA realistic fiction book that I found at my school library. Ronnie Hartman's mother moved to Alaska, abandoning her kids. At thirteen years old, she's been returned from multiple foster homes due to her lying, stealing, and impulsive behavior. Alison, her latest foster mom, is a therapist who wants to help her. At school she desperately tries to fit in with the popular crowd, ultimately hurting the only true friend she has. Just when she's starting to actually fit in, a letter arrives, presenting her with a choice to either be adopted by Alison or go to Alaska with her mother.

I am conflicted about Returnable Girl. While I enjoyed the book, it was extreme and the events were unrealistic. Roonie is in eighth grade. The complexity of the dilemmas and the maturity of the situations is shocking and not at all for that age level. The bullying, occasional violence, alcohol, and mature topics brought up are more like 11th or 12th grade. Even the most popular girls I know would not go as far and wild as the book went. Some of the scenes were uncomfortable even for me, so upper class high school students would be the targeted audience regardless of the age of the protagonist.

Other than the unrealistic maturity and conflict, I did enjoy the book! While some would say Roonie is selfish and heartless, I say that she is a good person at heart stuck in a tough situation. Yes, she made a lot of questionable decisions and she could have done things differently, but she's just trying to find her place in the world, learning from her mistakes as she goes. And while some people would say she is immature, I remind readers that she is only 13, and nobody at that age should have to deal with topics like these.

When I re-read the book, and suspended my disbelief I actually really enjoyed it! I think that the key to loving this book is to not overthink it. But even though the flow of the words, the writing style, and the character development is extraordinary, I cannot get past some of the content and the realism of multiple events. I would re-read this book, and I actually do recommend it, but be prepared for the extremity.

Title: Returnable Girl
Author: Pamela Lowell
Publisher: Cavendish Square Publishing
Pages: 229
Series: No
Rating: 3 Stars

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