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The Notebook Girls    by Julia Baskin & et al order for
Notebook Girls
by Julia Baskin
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

When Julia Baskin, Lindsey Newman, Sophie Pollitt-Cohen and Courtney Toombs were freshmen in a New York City high school, they began keeping a notebook of letters/notes. Each girl would write an entry and then pass the notebook to the next for comment. The Notebook Girls is the actual notebook-diary presented in its unrestrained glory for the world to read. Interspersed with the journal entries are photos of the girls, drawings, jokes, and other funny and heartbreaking things.

Though these girls' lives are unique, they nonetheless bear similarities to what any fourteen-year-old encounters. Friends are everything. Parties are common. Boys are obsessed over. Drugs are available - and, in this case, experimented with. It's fascinating to read their book and become immersed in experiences with which you might - or might not - identify.

Since memoirs/true stories have come into question lately, I was skeptical of the claim that this is a true diary that these girls kept in high school. After doing some research, I believe that it is, indeed, true. The four girls are now in college and are quite upfront about how much this notebook helped them connect and grow up during school. The only things they claim are changed are people's names (other than their own), and the removal of a few inside jokes or obscure references.

This is not a book for the faint at heart, with graphic descriptions of sex, drugs, and alcohol. Many teens will find it fascinating, and adults who have a bit of perspective on the issue (my own daughter is in college and twenty) will feel mixed emotions (nostalgia and relief are the main ones). But if you like peeking into someone's life, this unique format and these lively girls will grab you and keep you entertained.

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