A young woman wakes up in a park with amnesia and is shocked to discover she’s the high school mean girl.
I love it when male authors really “get” their female characters. Josh Grayson introduces us to Sia at her most vulnerable–lost and confused and in terrible physical danger. The homeless community scenes are scary and plunge us firmly into the world of the novel and Sia’s point of view. This makes Kyle’s enraged reaction to her showing up at the homeless shelter is as stinging as if we were the one he chased out into the the street. The scene also functions as the pivot that turns everything we know about this sweet, lost kid inside out. Sia may not know who she is, but we’re starting to, and it isn’t pretty.
Grayson manages to take YA cliches like mean girls, drunk moms, absent fathers and turn them on their heads through Sia’s willingness to take the hard road in her quest for redemption. Sure, there’s a bit of fairy tale here, but Sia lives in Hollywood and has a father in the entertainment business, so there’s at least a tenuous realism to the events that take place toward the end of the book.
For me, SIA called up memories of the movie CLUELESS. Darker and grittier, maybe, but it’s the same flavor. I’m not normally a fan of Queen Bees, but this Cinderella-in-reverse story has earned its spot on my (virtual) Keeper Shelf.