Sunday, March 30, 2008

Harmless by Dana Reinhardt

I recommend this book for: high school

Mariah is the coolest girl in the freshman class at a small private school. Anna and Emma have been best friends since 3rd grade, but they're practically nobody until Mariah starts hanging out with them. Then she invites them to spend the night with her at her older boyfriend's house - no parents, and public school guys enough for everyone. They lie to their parents, thinking no harm will be done, but when they get caught, they concoct a story about being attacked by a man with a knife. Suddenly the three girls are heroes in their community, the center of attention at safety assemblies and rallies to take back the streets. Then a man is arrested for the crime, and the girls have to face what they have done.

This was an interesting book that brought up a lot of issues about honesty and the consequences of actions. I had a hard time getting completely into it for a few reasons - one was that all of the male characters (with the exception of the police officers, and to a degree, Emma's brother) seemed to be almost completely centered around sex. The other was that Mariah seemed very one dimensional up until the point where the homeless man was arrested - then she had misgivings about what she had done and began pondering the consequences of her actions, but not before. Not a favorite.

But hey, they liked it . . .

Okay, now for the small print stuff - as you probably gathered from the part above, sex plays a huge part in this book. There's the made-up sexual assault, but there's also the party where Emma loses her virginity to a boy she has just met, and Mariah's older boyfriend is just using her for sex. Nothing more graphic than hickeys gets described, but the attitude is very casual. There's drinking and swearing as well.

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