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Gr 8 Up-Alice lost her mother to cancer years earlier. Now 16, she finds herself burdened with a stepmother and a new baby sister. Unable to accept her new life, she retreats into herself and thwarts any attempt at togetherness on the part of her family. Instead, she focuses her energy on her dog, Cobain; the music she plays at church with her best friend, Claire; and her rebel boyfriend. Fresh from an argument with Claire and confusion over whether or not to sleep with Blaze, Alice finds herself stuck at her stepmother's parents' home for Thanksgiving. When disaster strikes during a blizzard on the drive home, she is forced to take stock of herself and her family for the first time. At first, Alice's rampant use of cliches can be distracting (Claire knows her like "a druggie knows her best vein"; the first time she locked eyes with Blaze "was like a rocket blasting off into space"). However, the story is told by a teenager, and the cliches lend authenticity to the voice of an angst-ridden young woman. Schroeder weaves Alice in Wonderland (both Alice's namesake and her mother's favorite book) references throughout the book to echo the topsy-turvy nature of her protagonist's life. It is this roller coaster of emotions to which many teen readers will relate. A quick, yet satisfying, novel in verse.-Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.