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Gr 9 Up
Parker, 16, is the quiet, reserved middle child between little Preston and golden girl Paige. So why is her ex-boyfriend unbuttoning her blouse and handcuffing her in her father's study? Her parents walk in, ground her for life, and it all ends up on her ex-best-friend's blog. The real problem, though, is Parker's attachment to the boy. Character development is excellent, especially of the family. The descriptions of Parker's ADHD brother are humorous yet tender, her mother is uptight but not a caricature, and Paige insults Parker as only an older sister can. The teen's voice, too, is natural and steady. The ex-boyfriend, unfortunately, is flat in comparison. Though the point may be that Parker's obsession has more to do with her insecurities than his charms, their lack of chemistry fails to drive the plot or engage readers. The side plots, about Paige's alcoholism, a stalking neighbor, and the family's money troubles, are much more interesting. Still, Parker's sexual candor is refreshing; she states her desires in a way usually reserved for male protagonists. The author describes the new-media gossip mill and insular suburbia convincingly. There's a lot going on in Handcuffs , but Griffin manages to tie the strings together clearly and cleverly to a satisfying conclusion.-Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library
From the Hardcover edition.
Posted January 29, 2009
I have to put a disclaimer at the beginning of this review. I went into reading the book expecting something totally different. I believe if I either a) didn't know what the book was about or b) had a better understanding of the synopsis prior to starting it, I would have appreciated the story far more. From the first blurb I caught of the story, I actually expected it to be more of a hostage storyline. I was way off base. <BR/><BR/>Parker Prescott is the middle child. Her older sister is the perfect, popular Paige. Her younger brother, Preston, is the hyperactive one. Parker has always been the quiet, responsible one. That is until the day her parents find her and her ex-boyfriend in a compromising position. <BR/><BR/>But Parker's problems started before that day. Her father has lost his job and now the family is struggling financially. The for-sale sign in the front of the house troubles Parker. And on Christmas, when she gets a key in her stocking, she's angry at her parents because it's not a car for her, just the use of her father's Jeep. Her sister Paige was given a car, a huge "Sweet 16" party, an elaborate wedding - things they no longer have money for. <BR/><BR/>Parker has broken up with her boyfriend (and for the life of me, I can't find a single mention of his name in the book!) but goes running to his place after the key incident on Christmas. Parker had broken up with him for her own reasons. He wasn't cheating on her; he defends her when others would pick on her, what's not to love about him? <BR/><BR/>When he comes over one day after Christmas with the handcuffs, Parker gives in. He handcuffs her to her father's desk chair and slowly starts to remove her shirt. Of course this is when her parents come home early and catch them. They kick the ex-boyfriend out and ground Parker. <BR/><BR/>The story goes back and forth with Parker and her ex-boyfriend. Parker struggles with what she wants as she deals with the issues going on at home. As the money problems get progressively worse, Parker comes up with a way to help pay for the mortgage, at least. She keeps it hidden from her family but it all comes to a head when the cops show up and remove her computer. <BR/><BR/>There's so much going on with HANDCUFFS that it's more than just Parker and a compromising situation. Her sister is having marital problems. Her parents are trying to keep their head above water. Her sister's stalker's restraining order is due to expire. Her best friend, Raye, is pining over an ex-boyfriend. And always, there's Parker and her mixed-up emotions over her ex-boyfriend. <BR/><BR/>As you can see, this is so much more involved than what I originally expected the story to be when I first picked it up. It's a very intense and deep look at a two-month period in the life of Parker Prescott and her family. The story unravels at a nice pace, allowing the reader to discover all the different layers of Parker's life. Though the premise is risqué sounding, the actual story is not overtly sexy. It's the normal struggle of a young girl coming to terms with her own sexuality, among other life lessons.
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Posted February 16, 2015
Posted February 16, 2015