Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Release Date: August 2009
Publisher: HCI Teens
Author Site: http://www.hannahfriedman.com/
My Rating: 5/5
Synopsis [from HCI Books.com]:
When everything sucks, change everything . . .
And that's exactly what Hannah Friedman set out to do in an ambitious attempt to bust out of a life of obscurity and absurdity and into an alternate world of glamour, wealth, and popularity.
Being dubbed 'That Monkey Girl' by middle school bullies and being pulled out of sixth grade to live on a tour bus with her agoraphobic mother, her smelly little brother, and her father's hippie band mates convinces Hannah that she is destined for a life of freakdom.
But when she enters one of the country's most prestigious boarding schools on scholarship, Hannah transforms herself into everything she is not: cool. By senior year, she has a perfect millionaire boyfriend, a perfect GPA, a perfect designer wardrobe, and is part of the most popular clique in school, but somehow everything begins to suck far worse than when she first started. Her newfound costly drug habit, eating disorder, identity crisis, and Queen-Bee attitude lead to the unraveling of Hannah's very unusual life.
Putting her life back together will take more than a few clicks of her heels, or the perfect fit of a glass slipper, in this not-so-fairy tale of going from rock bottom to head of the class and back again.
Being called "that monkey girl" gets old very, very quickly. Having a monkey for a sister and eccentric parents isn't the worst thing in Hannah's life. Throw in a smelly little brother and you got yourself a party though. Hannah's middle school years are filled with a multitude of embarrassing moments and constant teasing. Then her parents pull her out of school for a UK tour for her musician father - who's last hit was sometime in the 1970s. She's dragged along on a great big disappointment but feels ready to start anew when she gets back to middle school. Surely her new worldy aquired knowledge will impress someone and bump her up on the popularity scale....Yeah, no - doesn't happen. Hannah finds herself lower than ever before.
But things change drastically when it's time for Hannah to go to high school. She gets accepted into a private boarding school, although she commutes because it's so close to home. She finds herself easily making friends and is pretty surprised when the most popular group of girls wants her in their clique. After she comes down from her euphoric feeling of finally having friends Hannah sees the ugliness of high school drama. Nothing but bitchy, backstabbing, superficial competition all wrapped up in lip gloss and short skirts.
Hannah covers all the horrors of adolescence that I think will resonate with everyone. Drugs, sex, eating disorders... Hannah doesn't hold back. She highlights the good times of her life and doesn't shy away from highlighting the bad either. I can't tell you how many times I laughed while reading this book. I don't even know Hannah and yet I absolutely adore her. Sarcastic, witty, and absolutely charming - Hannah's voice is entirely real and honest. But all hysterics aside there is some serious issues being dealt with and you'll find Hannah's story can be heartbreaking at times.
Judge Hannah however you like but I think in the end you will respect her for being so honest and come to appreciate what she has to say. She's not saying anything new, but I think everyone will be able to relate to something in her story. I'm really looking forward to see what she has in store for us next.