Push Girl

HILL, Chelsie & . 240p. St. Martin's/Thomas Dunne Bks. 2014. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250045911; ebk. ISBN 9781466846050.
Gr 8 Up—High school junior Kara is popular with the "right" people, has a to-die-for athletic boyfriend, and is sure to be her school's next homecoming queen. However, when she learns that her parents are contemplating a divorce, she drives off recklessly in her car and ends up in a debilitating accident. Paralyzed from the waist down, Kara's dreams of being a dancer are totally dashed, and her in-crowd friends and boyfriend are nowhere to be found. Instead, it is her lifelong friend Amanda (whom she has recently ignored) and her ex-boyfriend Jack who devote themselves to helping her find meaning in life once again. Kara attempts to do something positive with her losses by becoming a "push girl" (one who faces adversity and comes out swinging), and her sense of personal worth soars, despite her diminished mobility. Star of the TV series Push Girls, Hill endured the same type of injury which her protagonist undergoes and also founded the Walk and Roll Foundation that Kara initiates in the novel to aid people with spinal cord injuries. The writing duo's personal experiences informed the realistic dialogue and fully developed main character (secondary characters are not as developed). Although the ending is predictable, both Kara's accepting her fate and the ups and downs of her relationships with family and friends will keep the attention of teens. The use of text messaging adds currency to the story, while the narrator's typical adolescent behavior will ring true for this audience. This tearjerker is sure to be popular with readers.—Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, formerly at LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI
During senior year, Kara, a talented dancer, is hit by a drunk driver, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. Everyone around her talks about how inspirational and strong she is, but Kara rejects those ideas; she's just doing what she has to do now. Based on Hill's real experiences, this quick read is a nuanced portrayal of a life altered.

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