So Much It Hurts

288p. Orca. 2013. pap. $12.95. ISBN 9781459801363. ebook available. LC 2013935380.
Gr 9 Up—Iris Wagner's life changes in a big way when she meets famed director Mick Horton, who assists her high school theater workshop. Under his tutelage, the 17-year-old imagines herself becoming Hamlet's Ophelia. The praise and attention from Mick make Iris feel special and soon she finds herself spending all her free time with the much older, possessive man. Her emerging sexuality, vulnerability, and willingness to please allow Mick to keep her under his control. He woos her with romantic dinners and wine. This unequal relationship quickly develops into an abusive one, and Iris struggles to escape Mick's anger. Readers familiar with Shakespeare's Hamlet will be intrigued by plot parallels, and other readers will simply enjoy the story. Polak dedicates the novel to "all the young women who see themselves in Iris, and for the people who love them and want to know them better."—Lisa Gieskes, Richland County Public Library, Columbia, SC

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