Friday, April 2, 2010

Girl on the Other Side by Deborah Kerbel

Girl on the Other Side by Deborah Kerbel
Release Date: October 30, 2009
Publisher: Dundurn Press
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 152
Overall:  3

You know that one girl in school that has it all, looks, status, money, the whole package? That girl happens to be Tabby Freeman. She’s the “Queen Bee” (think Regina George…at least on the outside).

And we all also know that girl that was quiet, smart, and awkward, the one that just begged to be invisible. That would be Lora Froggett (with that last name I don’t know if she ever stood a chance). She’s that girl that is just trying to survive in the shark infested waters that is known as high school.

While these two girls live in totally separate worlds (and social circles), they have way more in common that they could have thought possible. Behind her perky smile, Tabby’s life is being shredded bit by bit into a million pieces; and Lora is simply trying to keep anyone and everyone from finding out the truth about her family.

Each of these girls is burying a secret that they want to stay a secret, and pain that they must keep hidden away from the world. Even though they are so different and have never really spoken to one another, fate has a plan to throw them together for all the right reasons.

Now it’s time for Tabby and Lora to wait for the dust to settle and pray that there’s no one else waiting when it does. But will the outcome of their revelations help them or hurt them in the end?

This isn’t your typical popular versus unpopular story. Girl on the Other Side is so much more. Lora was the most relatable character, at least for me. I think almost everyone can relate to getting picked on in school at some point. But I personally related more to the having a sick mother, a father that works all the time, and a household to take care of on top of school. It’s not easy and Deborah Kerbel portrayed the situation extremely well and accurately.

Although Lora was the most relatable for me, I was still able to relate to Tabby; especially the real Tabby and not the “Queen Bee,” society princess Tabby. I loved her relationship with her Nanny. It was sweet, pure, and unconditional, the way her parents should have been, but weren’t. I also like how Mrs. Kerbel portrayed how quickly Tabby’s peers and friends turned on her. How quickly you can go from being popular and loved, to being despised and tormented in high school.

I wish there had been more about some of the other characters we were introduced to, because there were quite a few. It felt as if you didn’t really get to know any of the other characters outside of Lora and Tabby. Even though both girls had relatable aspects, they were still fairly stereotypical in terms of clich├ęs.

While I did have my character issues, Kerbel made up for it in the plot. There is, of course, the school, popular versus unpopular issue, but the main aspect I loved was the family drama on both sides. That’s what really made Girl on the Other Side stand out for me. I think Girl on the Other Side is a good story, with a good message to it. It’s an extremely quick read and I wish it had been longer. I do recommend it for anyone who likes a good story, but I think the most beneficial audience would obviously be high school students.

Plot: 3
Writing: 4
Characters: 3
Ending: 3
Cover: 4
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I received this book as part of 1 ARC Tours.