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Lusty Lady

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Want to read: My Tiki Girl

School Library Journal just ran an article about gay and lesbian teenagers in YA novels, and among the ones they mentioned was My Tiki Girl by Jennifer McMahon, whose cover makes me swoon. From the article:

“It’s like [Dahlia]…emits some kind of electricity, like static that gives you shocks, raises the hair on your skin, shoots sparks. You can’t be near her without picking up on it. And you feel like maybe it’s dangerous….” Maggie, 15, shut herself away after a wreck killed her mother and left her a limping “Frankenstein girl” in Jennifer McMahon’s My Tiki Girl (Dutton, 2008). Now caught up in Dahlia’s bohemian life, Maggie’s crush on the teen is soon reciprocated, and turns to sexual exploration. Rich imagery and free-spirited prose convey Maggie’s emotional struggles over body image and self-acceptance, along with themes of popularity, grief, mental illness, and homophobia.

Here's a tiny excerpt from the author's site (read more there):

All the girls in tenth grade hate Dahlia Wainwright. They say she's a witch and that if you touch her, you're cursed. They say she’s so fugly the boys have to put a bag over her head to bone her. But as far as I can tell, Dahlia doesn't waste her time with boys. And the truth is, the girls hate her because she's prettier than any of them and it's not that all dressed up with blue mascara kind of pretty like Sukie Schwartz or Heather Tomasi. It's the kind where she could be covered in mud or stung from head to toe with bees and her beauty would still turn heads. The girls hate her because the boys all want her. The boys hate her because they can't have her. So Dahlia hangs out alone between classes, sneaking out to the soccer field to rest her back against the goal and smoke. Today, during lunch period, she’s right where I knew she’d be: braced against the white goal frame, the net behind her like a spider web, while she watches to see who might wander in.

I had walked into the cafeteria and the first thing I saw was Sukie Schwartz holding court at a long, rectangular table. I heard the buzz of their talking, laughing, teasing, and it mixed together in this sickening way with the gray meat smell of overdone hamburgers, perfume, sweat, new sneakers and floor wax. I hurried to the nearest exit before Sukie could catch my eye, and now I’m hobbling my way out to the soccer field where a single girl stands smoking and reading.

I say hobbling because I am a Frankenstein girl. The bones in my right leg are held together with screws and a metal rod. I walk with a stiff-legged limp. I used to use a cane, but don't anymore. My father says I still should, that I haven't healed completely from my last surgery, but he’s not the one who has to deal at school. I mean, the movie monster limp is bad enough, right?

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