Cohen throws every imaginable obstacle at her protagonists in this thoughtful but overly dramatic tale of two single parents turned lovers. Rachel Berman, the divorced publisher of Perfect Parent magazine, is striving to be just that to her two children, rebellious teen Janie and 12-year-old Dustin. Len Bean, a widowed lawyer, meanwhile, tries to manage his daughter Olivia's learning disorder, a condition that causes her to repeatedly talk about rodents and dress inappropriately. When Rachel and Len serendipitously meet, they hit it off. Soon their lives and those of their children become intertwined, much to Janie and Dustin's dismay. As tension builds for the children, a secret from Rachel's past comes to the forefront, and Len receives bad news at the doctor's office. Regret, rejection and worry abound as the plot touches on the standard societal/familial issues (divorce, teenage sexuality, adoption), and Rachel fights to create her own legacy at work. Cohen's language is pleasant and the characters relatable, but the plot is so obvious that the narrative feels like a quirky soap opera. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Inside Out Girlby Tish Cohen
Rachel Berman wants everything to be perfect. An overprotective single mother of two, she is acutely aware of the statistical dangers lurking around every corner—which makes her snap decision to aid a stranded motorist wholly uncharacteristic. Len Bean is stuck on the shoulder with Olivia, his relentlessly curious, learning disabled ten-year-old/em>… See more details below
Rachel Berman wants everything to be perfect. An overprotective single mother of two, she is acutely aware of the statistical dangers lurking around every corner—which makes her snap decision to aid a stranded motorist wholly uncharacteristic. Len Bean is stuck on the shoulder with Olivia, his relentlessly curious, learning disabled ten-year-old daughter. To the chagrin of Rachel's children, who are about to be linked to the most-mocked girl in school, Rachel and Len begin dating. And when Len receives terrible news, little Olivia needs a hero more than ever.
But the world refuses to be predictable. When personal crisis profoundly alters Rachel's relationship with a wild, very special little girl, this perfectionist mother finds herself drawn into a mystery from her past and toward a new appreciation for her own children's imperfect lives.
This compelling, insightful story is surprisingly lighthearted in spite of several heavy themes. Rachel Berman is raising her 14-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son by herself, after a divorce. She's also working hard to keep her father's magazine, Perfect Parent , financially afloat. Len Bean, an attorney, is raising his 10-year-old special-needs daughter alone; his wife was killed in a traffic accident when their daughter was five. The three children attend the same school, where Olivia Bean is known as "Inside Out Girl" because of her strange dress and overreadiness to hug, not to mention her love of data about rats. Soon after Rachel and Len meet, and then begin dating, Len discovers that he has a fatal brain tumor; finding a home for Olivia after his eventual death coincides with Rachel's longing to know what became of the daughter she bore as a teen and surrendered for adoption. Meanwhile, Rachel's daughter is struggling with her passionate crush on the girl next door. Characters are complete, credible, and engaging. Olivia and her nonverbal learning disorder are presented cogently and without stereotyping either her personality or the responses that she draws from kids and adults. This is a romance novel worthy of readers' time.-Francisca Goldsmith, Halifax Public Libraries, Nova Scotia
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Meet the Author
TISH COHEN is the author of both YA and adult novels, including The Truth About Delilah Blue, Inside Out Girl and Town House. The latter two have been optioned for film. Visit her online at tishcohen.com and on Twitter @TishCohen.
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