Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 224 pages
From Amazon: Leah Greene is dead. For Laine, knowing what really happened and the awful feeling that she is, in some way, responsible set her on a journey of painful self-discovery. Yes, she wished for this. She hated Leah that much. Hated her for all the times in the closet, when Leah made her do those things. They were just practicing, Leah said. But why did Leah choose her? Was she special, or just easy to control? And why didn’t Laine make it stop sooner? In the aftermath of the tragedy, Laine is left to explore the devastating lessons Leah taught her, find some meaning in them, and decide whether she can forgive Leah and, ultimately, herself.This slim book was so compelling that I read it in on sitting. With every turn of the page, the antagonist Leah Greene, is consistently harassing, to the point of abusing, her "so called" friend forever, Laine McCarthy.
It was so easy for me to see signs of "battered woman syndrome" in Laine, wanting to be a part of Leah's "in group," up to the point of allowing herself to be abused. Leah and Laine are like night and day, and they barely seem to meet in the middle.
The title of the book gives you a clue as to the ending of the book, but still you are not ready for the ending and you keep hoping things will turn out better. The control vs. submissive games or "practice" played out by these little girls, gives the brain food for thought on how these patterns may haunt other young children and teens. This story is definitely not one of those "feel good" teen books, but it makes you look at a different side of bullying and abuse. It is not until the end of the book that we understand the reason Leah has tormented Laine.
This is the first book I have read by Knowles and I look forward to more of her work in the future.