Author: Gail Giles
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Blurb: (from goodreads) With gentle humor and unflinching realism, Gail Giles tells the gritty, ultimately hopeful story of two special ed teenagers entering the adult world.
Quincy and Biddy are both graduates of their high school’s special ed program, but they couldn’t be more different: suspicious Quincy faces the world with her fists up, while gentle Biddy is frightened to step outside her front door. When they’re thrown together as roommates in their first "real world" apartment, it initially seems to be an uneasy fit. But as Biddy’s past resurfaces and Quincy faces a harrowing experience that no one should have to go through alone, the two of them realize that they might have more in common than they thought — and more important, that they might be able to help each other move forward.
Me: This book was unlike most books I've read about mental disabilities. It was very honest, raw and real.
The Ups: Quincy and Biddy felt very realistic to me. Often when I read a story about someone with a mental disability, the voice of that character doesn't seem believable. In the worst cases, they're overly exaggerated. But these two girls, their backgrounds and challenged seemed very real, which in turn made their actions and personalities believable.
They were such an unlikely pairing...and I am such a sucker for unlikely pairings. The two are such opposite ends of a spectrum, and especially Quincy- I didn't think she could get along with anybody. But they learn that in the real world, they've got nobody on their side except for themselves and that they are stronger than they think. I especially loved Quincy for this very reason. Biddy became stronger, and you could definitely see it. Quincy, she thought she was strong and put up a facade of i-don't-care when in reality there was weakness behind that thick skin.
The difficult issues dealt with in the book, such as sexual harassment and how people with mental disabilities are viewed in society, were delivered in a very blatant, raw way. It was painful, it was emotional, it was hard, but it was GOOD.
The Downs: The book was written in alternating first person narratives...with a Southern accent written out for each girl. 1) it was hard to understand and 2) it drove me up the wall. I understand that yeah, of course there are people who happen to have that accent. But I felt like it was detaching me from the meat of the book and I almost saw it as a little demeaning to who the characters actually were.
Overall: This book was bittersweet. I think that is the perfect word to sum up this review.
Rating: 4 kisses!