The File on Angelyn Stark [NOOK Book]


Angelyn Stark has a secret.

One day, her neighbor and friend, Nathan, saw something happen. Something between Angelyn and her stepfather. Then he told his grandmother, who was always looking out for Angelyn, and it turned into a mess. But Nathan didn't know what he was talking about then, and he doesn't know now.

Three years later, Angelyn is in high school and she thinks ...
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The File on Angelyn Stark

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Angelyn Stark has a secret.

One day, her neighbor and friend, Nathan, saw something happen. Something between Angelyn and her stepfather. Then he told his grandmother, who was always looking out for Angelyn, and it turned into a mess. But Nathan didn't know what he was talking about then, and he doesn't know now.

Three years later, Angelyn is in high school and she thinks she's getting along fine--but there's a young teacher who wants to help her. He says she has potential she isn't living up to. Nobody has ever cared this way about Angelyn, not since Nathan's grandmother, anyway. But what does Mr. Rossi really want from her? And once Angelyn starts falling for him, does she really care?

From the Hardcover edition.
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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Angelyn thought she had put her past behind her. When she was 12, a neighbor, Nathan, witnessed her stepdad molesting her. He reported it to his grandmother, who attempted to stop the abuse. The family denied it and moved on. Then Jeni Traynor shows up at her high school three years later. She knows Nathan and his grandmother, and Angelyn fears that the truth will come out. Her friends and boyfriend are always pressuring her to make bad choices, but she can't get over her neediness. Mr. Rossi, a teacher, tries to help her make better choices and give her confidence, but it backfires. Angelyn is vulnerable and misinterprets his attention and comments. When he confides in her that his wife has left him, blurring the boundaries even more, Angelyn sees an opportunity to express her interest in him. Unfortunately, Jeni witnesses her kissing Mr. Rossi but fails to see that he is rejecting her advances. Readers will feel the teen's vulnerability and understand her inability to have an appropriate relationship with any of the males in the book. The novel is not only about the sexual abuse, but also about the ease with which a vulnerable teen with a troubled past can be misled. Unfortunately, while it leaves readers hopeful, they will feel unsettled about the adults and the decisions that are made throughout.—Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI
Publishers Weekly
Fifteen-year-old Angelyn is no stranger to trouble: she and her friends smoke daily in the girls’ bathroom, and she’s caught with her boyfriend in the back of his pickup truck during lunch. She has a painful past, too: when she was 12, Angelyn’s elderly neighbor reported that the girl was being sexually abused by her stepfather; although Angelyn denied it, the accusation strained her family and caused her formerly beloved neighbor to move away. When Angelyn begins a complicated relationship with a teacher struggling with his own family issues, he tells her mother that Angelyn is confused (“Friend. Father. Lover. She’s got the lines blurred”), which makes Angelyn’s mother finally ask her daughter what really happened three years ago. Angelyn is a believably complex character who fights, swears, and acts impulsively, but is still easy to get behind. Atkins (Alt Ed) makes some slightly heavy-handed choices, including Angelyn’s connection with a dog that’s been abandoned and her eventual visit to see her estranged neighbor—but Angelyn’s realistic struggles with her mother add depth to this powerful, mature story. Ages 14–up. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, January 1, 2012:
“Spare and taut… this will resonate with many readers, especially those many teens struggling with the implications of their own identity and sexuality.”
VOYA - Cindy Faughnan
Angelyn Stark is a high school student no one messes with. Former neighbors re-enter her life, and she is forced to remember the reasons they left her neighborhood. She is so used to not talking about what has happened that it is a shock to have the subject opened again. When her boyfriend abandons her in the park because she will not have sex, she finds a stray dog that is also abandoned and convinces a young teacher to rescue the dog. She begins to push the teacher to rescue her, creating a compromising situation for him. It is not until Angelyn pushes this relationship in directions it should not go that the truth of her abuse at the hands of her stepfather comes out and she is able to repair her relationships. Readers who enjoyed Atkins's earlier books will be pleased to see this new one which, like the others, shows a gritty reality. The dialogue-driven story is a raw and realistic look at a sexually abused high school student. Her actions and reactions to family, friends, and teachers make sense as she comes to terms with the abuse that adults have told her did not happen. The adults who love her are flawed characters, but they are doing the best they can. Even her boyfriend, who appears shallow, shows his feelings for her later in the story. Like Coe Booth's Kendra from the novel of the same name (Scholastic, 2008/VOYA October 2008), Angelyn has a great deal to overcome and lots of heart. Although she makes many poor choices, readers will root for her and will be relieved by the hopeful ending. Reviewer: Cindy Faughnan
Children's Literature - JoAn Watson Martin
This "file" on Angelyn is presented as if it were the police file kept up-to-date on a totally out-of-control girl. The story begins in a high school girls' restroom. Three girls are smoking and bully a new girl who enters. Angelyn almost defends her, but is much more interested in keeping her place in the pecking order. Angelyn and her current boyfriend, Steve, spend lunchtime drinking beer at the reservoir. Steve insists they need to go farther in their physical relationship than Angelyn is ready for. Their teacher, Mr. Rossi recognizes that Angelyn has potential, but he knows something is going on at home for her to be so far off track. Her mother takes delight when Angelyn screws up, is never supportive, refuses to listen. Her stepfather withdraws from any friction, insisting she is not his. The entire novel is a close look at the antics that go on in the high school. Angelyn hates her teachers, her mother, and her so-called friends. Everyone who reaches out to help her is refused and scorned. "What do I care?" When Nathan, a well-meaning neighbor, reveals what he saw, her parents and even Angelyn deny it. Her mother accepts the family situation with the excuse that the neighbors will talk about them. Obvious to every character, including the reader, something is terribly wrong. This is a gripping novel. Nothing is sugar-coated. The author tells us more than we really want to know. However it will be useful for a girl who needs to realize others have faced such a miserable life. Angelyn attempts to deny herself total self-centeredness. Mr. Rossi shows kindness, but Angelyn does not know how to deal with it. This is a realistic portrayal of a dysfunctional family. Reviewer: JoAn Watson Martin
Kirkus Reviews
A troubled teen tries to tell a truth no one wants to hear in this problem novel told almost exclusively in dialogue. Fifteen-year-old Angelyn Stark seems to relish her position as the head of a pack of bad girls, but her tough exterior covers a terrible secret. The summer she was 12, her stepfather, Danny, sexually molested her. The abuse stopped after a neighbor called police, but when her mom didn't believe her, Angelyn told investigators it never happened. Danny still lives with them, and Angelyn endures her mother's anger over the incident. Angelyn's boyfriend, Steve, keeps pressuring her for sex, but she's only interested in her teacher, Mr. Rossi, the single adult in her life who encourages her. But Mr. Rossi is fighting demons of his own and rightly fears that a relationship with Angelyn will jeopardize his reputation. She will have to save herself. While Angelyn is an intriguing, complicated character, the clipped, occasionally clichéd conversations that make up most of the novel do little to deepen secondary characters' dimensions beyond type. In addition, subplots concerning a new girl and Angelyn's next-door neighbor get lost in the more compelling story lines of Angelyn vs. Mom, Steve and Mr. Rossi. Still, the ample white space created by long stretches of dialogue and the provocative topic make this an ideal selection for reluctant readers. (Fiction. 14-18)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375899898
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 11/8/2011
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

CATHERINE ATKINS is the author of When Jeff Comes Home, which was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, an ALA Quick Pick, a Booklist Top Ten First Novel, and an IRA Young Adults' Choice, and Alt Ed, which Kirkus Reviews called "a complex and stellar work" and The Miami Herald called "A must-read for teens."  She is a teacher and lives in Northern California.

From the Hardcover edition.
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Read an Excerpt


Angelyn, Fifteen

New girl walks through the three of us smoking in the bathroom. Jacey and me on the sinks, our long legs dangling. Charity, opposite, leaning against a partition.

“She must think she’s hot,” Charity says as the girl disappears into a stall.

I try and think if I’ve seen her before. One thing’s for sure.

New girl doesn’t know about us.

You don’t use this bathroom without asking first. Not during morning break.

Ten-thirty to ten-forty, Monday through Friday, the second-floor Vocational Building girls’ room belongs to us. Everybody knows it.

We snicker when we hear the girl peeing. As if we’ve never done that. Charity moves to the stall and thumps a fist against the door. Once. Twice. The flow stops. And starts. Jacey and I exchange a grin.

“Thinks she’s so cool,” Jacey says when the girl comes out  . She’s scared. Dark eyes taking us in. Ballerina body. Charity’s in her face, twice her size.

I push off from the sink. Jacey does too. I flick my cigarette to the drain. Jacey drops hers on the floor. I’m warm watching the girl squirm, warm in my stomach like I’ve just had cocoa. Curious too. Excited. I’m not bored.

We take Charity’s back, a triangle of tough.

“This is our space,” Charity says.

“I didn’t know.” The girl’s voice comes out dry.

We have her blocked. The only way out that doesn’t go through us is the window high on the wall behind her. It’s a long way down.

“Did you have a good pee?” Charity asks.

“The way you were banging--” The girl takes a breath. “I thought you wanted to come in and see for yourself.”

That makes me laugh. The girl lifts her chin. In profile, in the speckled mirror, she looks proud. Pretty girl in crap clothes. No makeup.

“During break we come in here to smoke,” I say. “The first-floor girls’ room is where you want to be.”

“What if I want to smoke?” the girl asks.

“Try Mr. Rossi’s room, down the hall,” Jacey says. “He’s a sweetie. He’ll let you, no problem.”

She’s messing with her. Mr. Rossi would never.

“Got it,” the girl says. “Now can I go?”

I lean to a sink and flip the water on. “Wash your hands first.”

“Wouldn’t want to be unsanitary,” Jacey says.

“Pig.” From Charity.

The girl’s eyes get wide. “Don’t call me that.”

Charity steps in. “I’ll call you whatever.”

The girl stumbles from her. “I don’t want to be late.”

“Then wash,” Jacey says.

Time twitches at me. “Hey, I don’t want to be late either.”

Charity looks at me. “Don’t try to stop this.”

“I’m not,” I say. “But you know Mr. Rossi.”

“He’ll wait for you,” she says.

“Shut up.”

“Maybe we should go,” Jacey says.

“Come on!” Charity’s whining. “We’ve got time.”

The girl starts through us. Charity hip-checks her to the sink.

“Wash your damn hands,” she says in a voice that would scare me.

The girl stands head down. She takes a shuddery breath.

“I’ll fight you. All three. Is that how it is here?”

Charity watches her. Jacey is still.

“This school sucks,” I say. “Where are you from?”

“The Bay Area,” the girl says. “San Jose. I know how to fight.”

Small as she is, it’s hard to believe.

“What, you got a knife?” Charity asks.

The girl holds up her hands. “I got claws.”

Her nails are short. Unpainted. No-style, like the rest of her.

“Is she trying to be funny?” Jacey asks.

“Wash,” I tell the girl. “Then we all can leave.”

The water’s run hot. Steam on the mirror.

“This is my first day at Blue Creek High,” the girl says.

“Aww. Poor you,” Jacey says.

“Angelyn, make her do it,” Charity says. “Make her wash her hands.”

The first bell goes off. Five minutes to World Cultures.

I stand back. “I’m not being late for this.”

“Yeah, let her be dirty,” Jacey says.

Charity jabs a finger at the girl. “Watch yourself.”

We turn our backs on her.

“Angelyn,” the girl says. “You’re not Angelyn Stark?”

Jacey and Charity look at each other.

“Yeah, I am Angelyn Stark,” I say. “You think you know me?”

The girl says no. “But I know someone who does.”

I wave my friends out. Charity peeks back. I wait.

“Who knows me?” I ask when we’re alone.

The girl walks to the sink, adjusts the temperature, and sticks her hands under.

“My mom is an aide at a nursing home. I was talking with one of the residents, and she said she knew a girl who goes here. You.”

I watch her scrub. “I don’t know anyone like that.”

“Thanks for not letting that girl kill me, by the way.”

“I wanted to leave on time. That was it.”

She shuts off the water. “Thanks, still. I’m Jeni Traynor.”

I shrug.

“I guess we should both leave,” Jeni says.

“Wait,” I say as she hoists her backpack.

“Don’t worry. I won’t come in here again.”

I shake my head. “What exactly did this resident say about me?”

“Well--that you used to be neighbors.”

I get cold. “Is her name Mrs. Daly?”

“The residents go by first names, mostly. Hers is Eleanor.”

“Eleanor Daly.” I nod. “Don’t talk to her again.”

Jeni blinks. “What?”

“You heard me. Stay away from her.”

“But--Eleanor didn’t say much, and all I did was listen.”

My chest is tight. “All you did was listen to crap about me.”

“No! She said nice things.”

Even worse. “You don’t talk to her, you don’t talk about me. My friends will know if you do, and they’ll tell me.”

“Those girls?” Jeni shudders. “I wouldn’t say a thing around them.”

“So why’d you talk to me? I’m the same as they are.”

She searches me. “Hey, Angelyn, I’m sorry.”

“You will be,” I say. Staring.

Jeni takes a step back. “Eleanor said you’d be friendly. Not like this.”

I follow. “This is me. How I am.”

From the Hardcover edition.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    It was an interesring book.

    Of course it had its dull moments but overall very interesting.

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  • Posted December 31, 2011

    good book.

    It actually is really good.
    better than it sounds, really.
    Of course there were moments every now and then it doesnt seem to be as good as it could have been, but over all very good:)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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