In the raw was how the world felt now. My feelings were raw, my thoughts were raw and hurtful like knife blades. . . . In the blue had been my place to hide, now In the raw there was nowhere to hide.
Jenna Abbott separates her life into two categories: before the wreck and after the wreck. Before the wreck, she was leading a normal life with her mom in suburban New York. After the wreck, Jenna is alone, trying desperately to forget what happened that day on the bridge. She's determined not to let anyone get close to her -- she never wants to feel so broken and fragile again.
Then Jenna meets Crow. He is a powerfully seductive enigma, and Jenna is instantly drawn to him. Crow is able to break down the wall that Jenna has built around her emotions, and she surprises herself by telling him things she hasn't told anyone else. Can Jenna bring herself to face the memories she's tried so hard to erase?
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Joyce Carol Oates is the author of the forthcoming novel The Gravedigger's Daughter. She is a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She is also the recipient of the 2005 Prix Femina for The Falls. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, and she has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.From School Library Journal:
Grade 9 Up–Jenna Abbott, 15, is struggling to come to terms with the car accident that killed her mother and nearly took her own life as well. Formerly athletic and smart, she suddenly finds herself unable to concentrate or communicate with anyone. She is broken in both body and spirit and desperate to escape into the blue, which is how she remembers the drug-induced haze immediately after the accident. Not wanting anything to do with her father and his new family in California, she moves to New Hampshire to live with her aunt and uncle, and begins looking for ways to escape. She steals OxyContin from her uncle's medicine cabinet and becomes friends with Trina, who is dealing with her own substance-abuse problems. It takes two near-disasters for Jenna to tentatively open up to her classmate Crow and face her fears and grief. Oates is at her best telling the stories of teenage girls dealing with internal trauma and outside pressures. Jenna's pain at losing the only person truly close to her and the isolation she creates for herself are poignantly drawn. Her understanding that her choices are not what her mother would want for her is especially telling and may speak to teens in comparable situations. Similar in topic to E. R. Frank's Wrecked (S & S, 2005), this powerful novel is well worth reading.–Stephanie L. Petruso, Anne Arundel County Public Library, Odenton, MD
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