How To Deal (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

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Overview

In Halley's junior year of high school, she faces the death of her best friend Scarlett's boyfriend, Scarlett's pregnancy, and Halley's own first relationship.

Halley's junior year of high school includes the death of her best friend Scarlett's boyfriend, the discovery that Scarlett is pregnant, and Halley's own first serious relationship.

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Overview

In Halley's junior year of high school, she faces the death of her best friend Scarlett's boyfriend, Scarlett's pregnancy, and Halley's own first relationship.

Halley's junior year of high school includes the death of her best friend Scarlett's boyfriend, the discovery that Scarlett is pregnant, and Halley's own first serious relationship.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Dessen's realistic portrayal of contemporary teens and their moral challenges breathes fresh life into well-worn themes of rebellion and first love. Halley has always been close to her mother, a therapist who publishes books about adolescent behavior. But the summer before her junior year of high school, Halley begins cutting the umbilical cord. She and her best friend, Scarlett, start hanging out with Ginny Tabor ("a cheerleader with a wild streak a mile wide and a reputation among the football team for more than her cheers and famous midair splits"); Halley dumps her nerdy boyfriend (the son of her mother's best friend) and becomes involved with reckless Macon, a boy her parents have forbidden her to see. Then Scarlett discovers she is pregnant two months after her boyfriend Michael is killed in a motorcycle accident. Walking a line between childhood and adulthood, the two girls turn to each other instead of their families for support. Together they explore the meaning of love, sex and responsibility. This romance/coming-of-age story is not as tightly written as Dessen's debut, That Summer; it suffers from some scenes reminiscent of soap opera and from flat presentations of almost all the adult characters. But Dessen's fully developed characterizations of charismatic teens, particularly the rebel-without-a-cause-type Macon, are sure to attract readersespecially those who, like Halley, have felt the urge to take a walk on the wild side.
KLIATT
Realistic and contemporary, this novel addresses two mature themes that teenage girls could relate to or might face. The first theme is pulling away from parents and friends to a more independent relationship; the second theme is teen pregnancy. Life had been fairly predictable for Halley until her junior year. Content to be friends with her mother and shadow to the more outgoing Scarlett, Halley finds herself detaching from both influences when Macon enters her life. Halley falls for the attention Macon gives her, and begins deliberating whether she is ready for his increasing pressure of sexual intimacy. Halley's final decision comes from what she thinks is best for her, and not what others think she should do. Halley revels in her ability to break outside of the confines of lifelong influences and expectations. Then, she must become a source of strength for Scarlett when Scarlett's boyfriend Michael is killed in a motorcycle accident. Scarlett needs Halley even more when she find out she is pregnant with Michael's child. In Scarlett's need for Halley, Halley realizes how much she truly needs her mother after all. Written with frank insight, this first-person account captures the struggles of making and living with choices. Readers looking for a storyline that reflects situations teen girls face today will be challenged by the choices Halley and Scarlett must make. KLIATT Codes: S—Recommended for senior high school students. 1998, Penguin/Puffin, 281p, 18cm, 97-36437, $4.99. Ages 16 to 18. Reviewer: Pam Webb; Lib. Tech., Sandpoint H.S. Sandpoint, ID, September 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 5)
Children's Literature - Linnea Hendrickson
In the words of its author, this is "a story about friendship, love, and the one year we all remember when everything has changed." Halley and Scarlett have been friends since childhood, but at the end of the summer before their junior year, Scarlett's boyfriend, Michael Sherwood, dies in a motorcycle accident, and their lives begin to change in ways they could never have imagined. Scarlett learns she is pregnant with Michael's child, and Halley falls in love for the first time with the mysterious, charming, and infuriating Macon Faulkner. Both Halley and Scarlett engage in battles of wills with their very different mothers and in conflicts with other girls at school. The characters are well-delineated, the plot is well-constructed and nicely paced, and issues of love, friendship, family, and deciding for oneself what is right are handled deftly, the decidedly serious issues lightened with a touch of humor.
Children's Literature - Linnea Hendrickson
In the words of its author, this is "a story about friendship, love, and the one year we all remember when everything has changed." Halley and Scarlett have been friends since childhood, but at the end of the summer before their junior year, Scarlett's boyfriend, Michael Sherwood, dies in a motorcycle accident, and their lives begin to change in ways they could never have imagined. Scarlett learns she is pregnant with Michael's child, and Halley falls in love for the first time with the mysterious, charming, and infuriating Macon Faulkner. Both Halley and Scarlett engage in battles of wills with their very different mothers and in conflicts with other girls at school. The characters are well delineated, the plot is well constructed and nicely paced, and issues of love, friendship, family, and deciding for oneself what is right are handled deftly, the decidedly serious issues lightened with a touch of humor.
VOYA - Marcia Mann
At the beginning of their junior year of high school, Halley's best friend's boyfriend dies in a motorcycle accident. Unaccustomed to being the strong one in their friendship, Halley nonetheless struggles to provide emotional support for Scarlett. When Scarlett discovers she is pregnant, she depends on Halley even more. At the same time as Halley works to adjust to their changing circumstances, she must also deal with the shifting relationship she has with her controlling mother and she falls in love for the first time. Halley's relationship with Macon Faulkner, the "Boy with a Reputation," serves to distance her from her parents as it helps Halley discover herself and her own set of values. The story is told from Halley's point of view. She is an engaging character and her maturing perspective over the course of the year rings true. Although the focus is on Halley, as minor characters her boyfriend, mother, and Scarlett are well presented. The overall tone of Someone Like You is funny, heartwarming, and appealing-a fine follow-up to Dessen's first novel, That Summer (Orchard, 1996/VOYA December 1996), a 1997 ALA Best Book for Young Adults. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Broad general YA appeal, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
School Library Journal
Quiet, predictable Halley and Scarlett, her feisty defender, have been best friends since grade school. Growing up like sisters, they've shared everything except a bedroom, dreams, clothes, classes, and Friday nights. Then boys step into their teen lives. Scarlett's romance the summer before junior year has serious consequences when Michael dies in a motorcycle accident and she's left carrying his child. Halley's close relationship with her psychologist mother is fractured as the girl's friendship with secretive, irresponsible Macon Faulkner deepens into romance. To top things off, Grandma Halley is dying. Halley and her classmates experiment with drugs, alcohol, and sex, and experience family problems. Asking questions and making choices, Halley confronts her fears and learns to make her own decisions on her way to adulthood. Dessen deals accurately, sensitively, and smoothly with growing up in suburbia. Halley and Scarlett's friendship resonates with affection and honesty, and the predictable but necessary separation of mothers and daughters is portrayed with tender acuity. Experiences and conversations avoid falling into cliche; all of the characters are fully developed and worth getting to know. Without preaching or posturing, Dessen has written a powerful, polished story. Gail Richmond, San Diego Unified Schools, CA
Horn Book Magazine
In this novel whose first-person voice is remarkable for it authenticity, Dessen more than fulfills the promise of her first book, That Summer. A great deal happens to Halley during her junior year in high school. Her best friend, Scarlett, becomes pregnant, a not-unheard-of event - "but for girls like us, like Scarlett, these things didn't happen. And if they did it was taken care of in secret, discreetly, and only rumored." Uncharacteristically, Scarlett decides to keep the baby. Halley falls in love with Macon, handsome and dangerous and one more secret she keeps from her mother, a psychologist who has written books describing the ideal relationship she has with her daughter. Halley thinks back to the summer before when she and her family had traveled to the Grand Canyon, a metaphor for the distance that has since opened up between her and her mother. The adults - Halley's controlling mother and her sympathetic but ineffectual father, Scarlett's childlike mother Marion - are drawn with as much care and (unusual in young adult novels) affection as the adolescent characters. Familial ties are strong. When Macon pressures her to have sex, Halley discovers that the values her parents have taught her are not that easy to brush aside. "We didn't talk or laugh as much anymore....Everything had narrowed to just going to his house, parking out by the lake and battling for territory while arguing about trust and expectations. It was like dealing with my mother." Dessen has a unique talent for distilling character in a few biting words, and she uses her sharp sense of humor to make her points without mawkishness. The penultimate scene, in which Scarlett heads straight from the junior prom to the hospital to have her baby, incorporates what seems to be a cast of thousands, including a Boy Scout troop and Marion with a group of faux-medieval revelers. It has a farcical quality about it that seems out of place in this otherwise solidly realistic narrative. But this is a minor quibble. The book hits home, from Halley's first serious relationship, to her ignorance over the details of sex ("I wasn't very clear on the logistics"), to her fascination with Scarlett's pregnancy. Adolescent girls will readily identify with Halley and will appreciate the book's honest explication of the things they really want to know.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780613667098
  • Publisher: San Val, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/1/2003
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: THIS EDITION IS INTENDED FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 988,314
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.40 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen is the author of several novels for young adults. She lives in North Carolina.

Biography

Although she was born in Illinois, YA novelist Sarah Dessen has spent most of her life in Chapel Hill, NC. Both of her parents were professors at the University of North Carolina, where Sarah studied creative writing and graduated with a degree in English.

As far back as she can remember, Dessen has always wanted to write. She remembers churning out wildly imaginative stories on an old manual typewriter her parents gave her when she was eight or nine years old. So it was only natural that after college she would forego a "real job," choosing instead to support herself by waiting tables at a local eatery while trying to publish a novel. In 1996, just three years after graduation, she sold her first book, the witty, wry coming-of-age story That Summer. A second novel, Someone Like You, followed two years later. (In 2003, these two books were loosely adapted into the movie How to Deal, starring teen sensation Mandy Moore.)

Dessen claims she never set out to be a YA writer, but somehow her memories always bring her back to high school, a time and place that resonates strongly for her. Living in her hometown where she is still in contact with many childhood friends, she finds it pretty easy to get in touch with her "inner teenager." In addition, the books she read from that time have a special, magical staying power. She explains it this way on her website:

"[W]hile I couldn't tell you complete plots of novels I read even six months ago, I do remember even the smallest descriptive details from Lois Lowry's A Summer to Die or Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. I think it was because back then books were still somewhat new to me, and when I found an author who seemed to say just what I was feeling, it really struck me and resonated. I hope that my books do that for the people who read them."
If one can judge from her growing fan base and continued presence on the bestseller lists, Dessen can safely say "mission accomplished."

Good To Know

Here are some fun facts about Sarah Dessen:

  • Most of Dessen's books are set in the fictional town of Lakeview and feature recurring locales and characters.

  • Dessen also teaches creative writing at her alma mater, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

  • Among her confessed addictions, Dessen counts the Gap clearance rack, Starbucks mochas, multiple magazine subscriptions, and a penchant for black pants.

  • Dessen sometimes waxes nostalgic about her days as a waitress. "It was a great job for a writer, " she says. "Endless conversations to eavesdrop, tons of material, and fast money without ever taking work home."

  • In Just Listen, the character of Owen Armstrong was named for the young protagonist in John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany, as well as for Lance Armstrong, one of Dessen's proclaimed crushes.

  • Concerning her "tendency to embellish," Dessen says: "I think it's just a weakness of fiction writers. Once you learn how to make a story better, it's hard not to do it all the time."

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      1. Hometown:
        Chapel Hill, NC
      1. Date of Birth:
        June 6, 1970
      2. Place of Birth:
        Evanston, Illinois
      1. Education:
        University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, degree in English.

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