Amelia O'Donohue Is So Not a Virgin

( 1 )

Overview

I Never Tell Other People's Secrets...

Amelia O'Donohue was stunning. We all knew we were in the presence of tremendous beauty, humbled by her eyes and by her expensive designer clothes. We all deferred to her, waiting for her to initiate conversation, and hanging on every word she said.

So when Amelia asked for my help, What was I to do? Did I have a choice? It's not like I could tell everyone that she sneaks...

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Amelia O'Donohue Is So Not a Virgin

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Overview

I Never Tell Other People's Secrets...

Amelia O'Donohue was stunning. We all knew we were in the presence of tremendous beauty, humbled by her eyes and by her expensive designer clothes. We all deferred to her, waiting for her to initiate conversation, and hanging on every word she said.

So when Amelia asked for my help, What was I to do? Did I have a choice? It's not like I could tell everyone that she sneaks off in the middle of the night in her pink silk nightie to sleep with her boyfriend. Right?

But this one favor leads to a secret so big it just might change everything-for Amelia and for me...

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Leah Sparks
Brainy workaholic Rachel Ross is desperate to escape her unhappy, distant parents and stifling island community to spend her senior year at Aberfeldy Halls, the best boarding school in the Scottish Highlands and her hoped-for ticket to studying medicine at Oxford University. Rachel's parents moved the family from Edinburgh when Rachel was nine after she unwittingly spilled the secret of her mother's infidelity. Since then, Rachel has developed a reputation as a trusted secret keeper who goes to great lengths to protect others' confidences. She carries this reputation to Aberfeldy Halls and soon becomes the confidant of many classmates, including the tough, sophisticated title character. When Rachel's role as secret keeper isolates her from her classmates, she withdraws from friends and family while unknowingly harboring the biggest secret of all in a surprising plot twist that readers will not see coming. Glasgow-based author Fitzgerald wrote several adult novels before this charming YA debut. Rachel is a bright, funny protagonist whose first-person narration is peppered with humorous depictions of daily life. Fitzgerald's liberal use of British vocabulary (e.g., snog, duvet, conker, netball) is generally understood in context, although a glossary like the one in Louise Rennison's Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging (HarperTeen, 2000/VOYA June 2000) would have been a useful addition. The novel's satisfying conclusion, which shows Rachel reconciled with her parents and starting a new romance as she enters university, will still leave readers wanting more and hoping that Fitzgerald has plans for a sequel. Reviewer: Leah Sparks
School Library Journal
Gr 8–11—Rachel Ross wants nothing more than to escape her life on a remote Scottish Island, so she focuses on getting top marks so she can enroll at Aberfeldy Halls. Although her parents tell her to leave the matter to the Lord, when the teen is caught with a local boy, they announce that she will attend the elite boarding school. Rachel is recognized as someone who never repeats secrets, and her schoolmates line up to share theirs with her. Before long, though, she retreats from the other girls to devote herself to her studies. A few days before finals, Rachel finds a newborn hidden in a linen closet. She decides to determine who the mother is, intending to help the young woman cope, and talks beautiful, popular Amelia O'Donohue into joining her to solve the mystery. This novel suffers from a split personality; in part it is the well-drawn story of an internal journey, with Rachel's barren emotional life set against the island's bleakness and her parents' piety. It is also reminiscent of Louise Rennison's Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (HarperCollins, 2000), with humorous depictions of the girls' high jinks and liberal use of slang. Unfortunately, the story careens between these two sensibilities throughout. Staging a comical "caper" around locating the desperate mother creates a sense of unease in readers that makes the scene largely unbelievable. Because the mood of the book shifts in these diverse directions, the message loses its potential impact and becomes little more than an uneven sum of its parts.—Karen Elliott, Grafton High School, WI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402243738
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/1/2010
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Helen FitzGerald is one of thirteen children and grew up in Australia. She now lives in Glasgow with her husband and two children. Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over ten years and has published three adult novels, Dead Lovely, My Last Confession, and The Devil's Staircase.
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Read an Excerpt

From: CHAPTER ONE

It was a typical breakfast except for two things.

The typical things:
1. My mother sighed heavily and stared into space.
2. Dad found corrupt politicians in The Scotsman and it made his lips go green.

Not typical things:
1. The doorbell rang. It was Matt the postman with my fourth year exam results, as well as a congratulatory letter from the head teacher.
2. I screamed.
History: A (top of class)
Physics: A (top of class)
Math: A (top of class)
English: A (equal top with Louisa MacDonald, who rang later hoping she'd beaten me but she hadn't. Ha!)
Chemistry: A (top of class)
Biology: A (top of the world)

I blurted out my results to my mother and my father. Just so you know, it had been a long time since I'd thought of my mother and my father as Mum and Dad. Mum and Dad, in my opinion, indicated some kind of intimacy, and I didn't have any with my mother and my father. Not because of some massive disaster-like my mother drinking, or like my father bashing her head in with a saucepan when dinner's crap, or like the death of a younger, better sibling-but because my mother and my father were emotional retards. When I told my mother my results, she said, "Hard work pays off."

She had finished staring into space. My father said, "Don't let it go to your head." He had finished with The Scotsman. But it was too late. It had so gone to my head that I screamed then rang all my friends.

And they were like, "Really?"

"I know; I can't believe it!"

My ruddy-cheeked pal, Katie Bain, said, "We should cele-brate! I've got it! A brisk walk to the standing stones and a picnic of Mum's homemade oatcakes and Mrs. Goslan's famous black-berry jam! Oh, and a thermos of hot chocolate! Steaming!" Katie Bain only ever spoke with exclamation marks. I said maybe another time. There was a call waiting.

It was Louisa. She seemed a bit pissed off.

"But you did really well too!" I said.

(But not as well as me!)

Straight As.

Top of the class.

Top of the school in fact.

And my enormous success stayed in my head right up till dinner, by which time I'd ridden my bike all the way down my drive, along the two-mile coastal road and into the village to show the piece of paper to all of the above and their parents and their brothers and their sisters.

Only Louisa seemed interested in my results.

Her folks owned Aulay's whitewashed pub. Aulay's and the church bookended the seaside strip of fifteen houses and three shops. In her cozy bedroom above the bar, she read the letter with a scrunched up face, checking to see if they'd made a mistake, then said, Wow! The others said, Oh great, gotta go to the post office/Pick some rosemary/You really should come to the standing stones!

So when I got home for supper, a fog of anticlimax had settled over me. Who cared if I did well? What would it change anyways?

As if to prove my theory, my mother told me to go to bed at the stupidly early hour of 9:00 p.m. and said, "Say your prayers. Ask for humility."

"Please god can I have some humility," I said out loud.

She was like, "Properly."

"Please god may I have some humility," I said.

"And ask for forgiveness."

"Please god forgive me..." I obeyed, then opened my eyes a tad and looked at my mother, who was standing over me, steely faced..."What for?"

"For your sins."

"For my sins and god bless my mother and god bless my father and please may I go to Aberfeldy Halls. Amen."

I wanted to go to Aberfeldy Halls more than anything in the entire universe. Louisa MacDonald and Mandy Grogan were going there. It was the best senior boarding school in the highlands. It had the best science grades in the UK. Nine out of ten graduates went on to university after going there.

I needed to go to university. I needed to do medicine and make money and live in the city, maybe even in London. At Aberfeldy Halls, you got your own cubicle and you studied for four hours every night. You got two choices for dinner. You got big shiny science labs and literature teachers who came from exotic countries and also wrote novels.

The outcome of my wish depended on the good lord appar­ently. (I am deliberately not using capitals.)

My mother said, "The good lord will tell us if you should go to Aberfeldy Halls. If you listen hard enough, you will hear."

Listening to the good lord was very dull. Especially on Sundays, when the whole island did nothing but listen to the good lord, their ears pricked as they sat still in their living room seats, bibles in hand. No ferries; no cars; no shops; no tele­vision, talking, music, nothing. Just listening, waiting to be saved. From what? From boredom? From hour-like-minutes that ticked a sharp bird-beak into your skull?

They had plans for me, my parents. They wanted me, their only child, to stay on the island and be safe: tucked away from the evils and temptations of the city. They wanted me in our small croft house, where the ghosts of wet farmers from two hundred years ago lived with the ghosts of us. They wanted me to go to the local state school-a gray seventies scar on the outskirts of the village-where teachers yawned and pupils' shoulders lowered with the hours. They wanted me to get just enough education to handcuff me to some god-fearing McFarmer for the rest of my life.

I had different plans. I longed to leave the island, my floating prison of rain, hunched shoulders, and the good lord. I was no Katie Bain. I didn't have red hair, freckles, and a cheeky grin. I didn't collect rocks on beaches and get into mischief on hillocks. I didn't want to know everyone or everything about them. I'd only lived in the city till I was nine, but I knew I was a city girl. I'd loved Edinburgh. I'd loved our old flat, a top floor tenement the size of Dundee, with floor-to-ceiling windows that looked out over the floodlit Castle, with neighbors who minded their own business, and with hide-and-seek nooks and crannies like the old maid's room above the kitchen. When I used to open the bedroom window in my childhood flat, noises would fly at me: buses honking, people talking, even bagpipes piping from the touristy Princes Street. When I used to step outside, I'd be confronted with at least ten different things to do: Milkshake here? Dinner there? Movies over the road? Theatre round the corner? Dungeon up the hill? When I stepped out of the croft house, on the other hand, I was only ever confronted with a wind that bit my tonsils off.

I wanted crowds, noise, anonymity, difference. And I figured if I got a really good education, my parents couldn't argue.

They'd say, "You got into Oxford?"

And I'd say, "I did!" And they'd be like, "Well done, Rachel! You were right to go to Aberfeldy Halls. We're proud of you."

Because while my parents were emotional retards, I wanted to make them proud. I wanted to make them see that to be saved you must first dive into the water. If I dove first, perhaps they would follow. Perhaps they would be happy again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

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    I read this book before I got my nook and I loved it. Its a gret book and I could read it over and over again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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