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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sticky Fingers - Niki Burnham

Earlier this year I read a couple of Niki Burnham books that were lots of fun but nowhere near seeming like they could be true. This story was completely different from those. It's almost a little bit too real. As a grown up, what happens in this story worries me, although I do think it's a really powerful and important story to tell. The book deals with mature topics, so it's definitely for older readers, both girls and boys, and I haven't yet decided if I'm going to get it for our middle school, but for now you can get it at the public library which was where I picked it up.

This is the story of Jenna, a high school senior who works really, really hard at school and at being "in control" of her life. Jenna is super smart - she knows what she wants for herself, and she knows she doesn't want anything to get in the way of her plans. Once she gets early acceptance to Harvard for college, a lot of people think she should just sit back, relax, enjoy life a little. And Jenna thinks on the one hand that they're right. In the other, she's afraid if she lets go just a little bit, it's all going to go up in smoke. And then suddenly it does. Jenna has one drink at a party, and her life spins wildly out of control in the space of an instant.

The good news is, Jenna learns some really valuable lessons about relationships and the importance of not trying to get through everything by yourself as a result of what happens to her. The bad news is, they're hard lessons and they hurt. Jenna's story needs to be told, and hopefully readers will learn some of these important lessons the easy way (by reading the book).

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