336p. ebook available. Abrams/Amulet. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781419716416.
Gr 9 Up—Rich girl Lorrie Hollander's life comes crashing down when she is notified that there are insufficient funds available to cover her tuition at an exclusive equestrian program at her boarding school. She knows there is a trust fund governed by her maternal Aunt Gigi, who happens to be unstable, mentally ill, and unreliable. It is the same trust fund set up by her absentee mother, Danielle, who abandoned Lorrie and younger sister Susannah to Aunt Gigi's care for a new life 12 years ago. Lorrie has no choice but to leave her beloved horse and her top-notch education so she can return to the family estate. Edgewater is the decaying and dilapidated mansion where her aunt resides with colonies of cats and raccoons in a wealthy town in Long Island, NY. It is also a health hazard. While Aunt Gigi and Susannah are content with living in squalor, Lorrie is embarrassed and ashamed of her living situation. She meets and falls in love with Charlie Copeland, the son of a prominent senator. The teen makes every attempt to hide her real identity and ties to Edgewater from Charlie. However, she has no idea that the Copelands are hiding something that binds the two families forever. The pace of Sheinmel's YA debut starts off slow but picks up once the importance of Lorrie and Susannah's mother's backstory becomes clearer within the larger plot. The family-centered political drama will intrigue teens, who will especially appreciate the bond of the sister relationships explored here. This nod to Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale and Edith Bouvier Beale, who were the basis of the multiple versions of Grey Gardens, will inspire teens to do their own research on the enigmatic mother-daughter pair.
VERDICT Recommended for readers who are interested in political thrillers and fans of the television series Scandal.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.