Sarah's Stars

Simmone Howell. Notes from the Teenage Underground
Bloomsbury  $21.95  ISBN 978-1-58234-835-3  335 pg.
Reviewed by Sarah, Age 16

Gem, Lo and Mira are three of a kind.  They strive to be out-of-the-ordinary and regard the majority of the population as ‘bar code’ - boring and indistinguishable.  When regarded as freaks, they take it as an affirmation of the fact that they are cool, unique and original.  Gem is the movie buff/hippie chick.  She lives with her mom, who strongly believes in abstract art and women’s power.  Lo is the rebellious teenager who won’t give any guy the time of day and does her best to escape her parents’ religious lifestyle.  Mira is the flirt, the ‘boy magnet’ and the dumb blonde.  Together they live in a fabulous, detached world of their own, creating summer memories to last forever.  This year however, things seem to be changing.  Suddenly Gem doesn’t feel like she always fits in, like she’s the training wheels on a bike that’s being outgrown.  She strives to keep pace with her evolving, maturing friends, but it’s more than their taste in boys that is transforming.

Notes From the Teenage Underground is the wonderfully twisted story of a young girl’s last years of high school.  Its qualities are remarkably like what the three girls strive for - originality and artistic disparity.  What the characters go through is alternately common experience followed by crazy artistic ideas that only seem possible in a novel.  Simmone Howell has created amazing characters that truly come alive in their dialogues and actions.  By the end of the novel the reader has a perfect metal image of the three girls and exactly how we would act if we were to meet any one of them.

This reviewer feels that Notes from the Teenage Underground deserves five out-of-the-ordinary stars.


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