Rachel Cohn is the bestselling author of You Know Where to Find Me, Gingerbread, Shrimp, Cupcake, Pop Princess, and, with David Levithan, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List, and Dash & Lily's Book of Dares as well as the tween novels The Steps and Two Steps Forward. Born in Washington, DC, she graduated from Barnard College in New York and has lived on both coasts. She lives in Los Angeles. Visit her at RachelCohn.com.
Cohn (Gingerbread) delves into her darker side as she probes a teen's suicide and the painful repercussions for her loved ones. After her best friend and first cousin, Laura, kills herself with an overdose of prescription drugs, 17-year-old Miles is shattered: the person Miles believed would always be there for her has left without even saying goodbye. And when her flaky mother flees town to mourn with her boyfriend in London, Miles is left alone with Laura's father to endure a summer of grief at his D.C. estate. A prescription-drug addict herself, Miles must embark upon a journey of self-discovery if she is to survive. Cohn once again excels at crafting a multidimensional, in-the-moment teenage world, this time without recourse to her usual witty style. There is a bleakness to her language that superbly suits this sad, somber tale. Her work is heartbreaking, at times excruciating to read, but it rings with authenticity. In pursuing Miles's responses, she spares few details, neither the methods via which Miles and Laura procure their pills nor the actual medical causes of Laura's supposedly peaceful death. The tragedy of teen suicide has been the subject of countless novels, yet rarely has it been discussed with such gritty realism. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Gr 8 Up-Miles is wry, sarcastic, and smart, an almost-18-year-old Goth with a weight problem and a growing addiction to pharms. She and her "golden" cousin, Laura, were raised like sisters on their Georgetown estate, she in the carriage house out back with her mom, Laura in the main house with her wealthy gay father. In a first-person narrative peppered with flashbacks and essays written for school, Miles tells of Laura's suicide and a summer spent grieving. It's a story of Miles's changing perceptions of the people in her life: of Laura herself; Miles's best friend, Jamal, with whom she's falling in love; Jamal's affluent black family; Laura's grief-stricken father; and Miles's own parents (an artist mother who runs off to a boyfriend in London, and a formerly alcoholic, absentee father who shows up to watch over her). Cohn tackles a lot here: clinical depression, suicide, drug addiction, homosexuality, grief, Washington, DC 's racial and social stratifications, and the political fight for District statehood. Fans of titles such as Cohn's "Gingerbread" series and Pop Princess (2004, both S & S) will find a darker, more wrenching and poetic narrative, but may also get lost in the book's overabundance of social and political themes and wish for more insight into the relationship Miles mourns. While Cohn's characterizations occasionally teeter toward stereotype, the story's evolving relationships keep it compelling enough to propel readers through to its dramatic conclusion.-Riva Pollard, formerly at The Winsor School Library, Boston Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
"This painfully funny, deeply moving journey is the most authentic portrait of loss and forgiveness I've ever read." -- Patricia McCormick, author of Cut