Wow, this book exceeded my expectations - and believe me, they were high. This was the hardest hitting YA book I've ever read. To me, it read more like literary YA fiction. The characters were brilliantly written - don't let Amy's defense mechanisms deter you. The characters are real. Along with hating Amy's mother, I also pity her, feel sad for her, have compassion for her. Why? Because Lisa Burstein doesn't take the easy way out. She doesn't write the parents as the one-dimensional bad guy. She writes them as realistic people, which makes the problems in the novels that much more emotional. Talking about emotions, there is real emotion to this entire novel. Amy might try to ignore her feelings, but they're there the entire time. If you read carefully, you can clearly see that, and also see why Amy acts the way she does. We've all been in that place, where ignoring your feelings is better than admitting them and facing reality. This is just one story about how a lonely girl, a girl who is lost just as I was lost when I was Amy's age, finally finding her path. Just as in my life, that path is full of pain, but is worth it in the end.