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The Princesses of Iowaby M. Molly Backes
Synopses & Reviews
What does it mean to do wrong, when no one punishes you? A smart and unflinching look at friendship, the nature of entitlement, and growing up in the heartland.
Paige Sheridan has the perfect life. She's pretty, rich, and popular, and her spot on the homecoming court is practically guaranteed. But when a night of partying ends in an it-could-have-been-so-much worse crash, everything changes. Her best friends start ignoring her, her boyfriend grows cold and distant, and her once-adoring younger sister now views her with contempt. The only bright spot is her creative writing class, led by a charismatic new teacher who encourages students to be true to themselves. But who is Paige, if not the homecoming princess everyone expects her to be? In this arresting and witty debut, a girl who was once high-school royalty must face a truth that money and status can't fix, and choose between living the privileged life of a princess, or owning up to her mistakes and giving up everything she once held dear.
"Weightier than its title suggests, this well-executed first novel introduces three A-list high school seniors whose perfect lives are in disarray after a drunk-driving accident the previous spring, 'After the first cracks that split into canyons between us, sending me spinning across the ocean, Nikki down the Crazy Diet Rabbit Hole, and Lacey into the Land of Crippled Martyrdom.' Narrator Paige is 'exiled' to Paris to work as an au pair while her image-conscious mother does damage control. Upon Paige's return, her friends are cold, distant, and resentful that she was able to escape for the summer. Although the girls put on a front of normalcy once school begins, underlying tensions threaten to undermine their relationship. With the help of a new writing teacher, Paige embarks on a painful but enlightening journey of self-awareness. The conflicts Paige faces and the changes she undergoes are powerfully evoked. 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. Ages 14 — up. Agent: Becca Stumpf, Prospect Agency. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
M. Molly Backes is an exciting new talent in the world of young adult novels. After graduating from Grinnell College in Iowa, she moved to New Mexico, where she taught middle school and got 150 of her students to write novels for National Novel Writing Month. She now lives in Chicago, where she works at StoryStudio, Chicago's center for writing and the related arts.
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