Thursday, October 15, 2009

Review: Lessons from a Dead Girl by: Jo Knowles

Where I got it: Inter-Library Loan
Rating: 4 stars (a dark twisted ride)
Cover Rating: 3 stars (Interesting, but not necessarily great.)
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: October 9, 2007
Publisher: Candlewick

Leah Greene is dead. Laine knew what the phone call her mom received was about; she knew that Leah was dead. All Laine can think about now is all the hard lessons that Leah forced her through. And as Laine says; "What good are lessons from a dead girl?"

I loved how this book was set up, with the actual death being mentioned first then working up to it and passing it. Each chapter is also labeled as a different lesson, each chapter is that lesson. This was about Leah who was sexually abused by an older family friend, and in turn sexually abused Laine and held it over her head, almost as a threat. Leah constantly teased Laine about it, saying that she liked it and likes girls. This story is an excellent look into the lives of two child victims, and the damage sexual abuse can cause. This book was amazing. It showed Leah as a downward spiral, boyfriend after abusive boyfriend. It showed Laine trying to get by, trying to figure out how to define herself without Leah there. Leah controlled Laine's life, without her, Laine had no friends. Leah wasn't really a friend though, and eventually Laine figures this out. I think that this is an amazing glimpse into two teens lives, and I think that someone who is a victim of abuse might benefit from reading this. Maybe they could find the courage to speak out: to be able to tell someone trusted about what happened. Even though it might be painful, I think this book was a raw and honest portrayal of what it means to be a victim of something you can't really control. It can be hard to talk about and I think this book may be a great teen counselor resource. This book could be used as a book discussion piece, then the kids would be talking about Laine and how she feels and the pressure could be off of them. I plan to use this book in a new teen group we are starting at the library. This book was very dark but it was interesting to see how both girls handled their situation and how the lessons were taught and learned.


  1. I've always wanted to read this book. Thanks for the review. :)

  2. Woah. This must be a killer book. Hadn't heard of it before; thanks for mentioning it.


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