Graham, Rosemary Stalker Girl. Viking, 2010 [304p]
ISBN 978-0-670-06303-1 $16.99
Reviewed from galleys Recommended for Readers in Grades 8-12
“All she wanted was a glimpse into the perfect life of the perfect girl who had taken her place.” Or at least that’s what seventeen-year-old Carly tells herself as she slips through New York on the tail of Taylor Deen, new girlfriend of musician Brian, Carly’s first real love. What Carly doesn’t realize is that she’s not providing herself with resolution but feeding a growing obsession that’s likely to result in disaster and even a criminal record. Graham’s style is friendly and conversational, yet her storytelling is precise and controlled. She skillfully moves back and forth in the timeline for maximum impact, and without explicitly creating a cause for Carly’s overwhelming need, she sets up a background and an immediate past that would understandably make a normal girl particularly vulnerable. Carly is achingly believable as she teeters between smart and stupid, watching herself rationalize (her individual reasons are all brilliantly defensible even as the larger context makes them completely hollow) but finding the rationalizations too soothing to resist, and never confiding in her briskly pragmatic best friend, who would have immediately put a stop to it all. Like Hoffman’s It’s Not You, It’s Me (BCCB 9/09), this makes credible the distortion that a breakup can wreak on a usually stable young woman’s worldview, and readers won’t need to have gone to Carly’s lengths to understand her impulse.
Deborah Stevenson, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books