Jailbait

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Overview

Andrea Robin Kaplan is a clique unto herself.

In other words, she has no friends. Her only goal is get through high school with the least amount of humiliation possible, which should be easy— nothing ever happens in the suburbs, right? Wrong.

One day, as Andi walks home from school, a little brown VW drives up and she meets Frank. Frank makes her feel beautiful and special. With Frank, Andi forgets how alone ...

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Overview

Andrea Robin Kaplan is a clique unto herself.

In other words, she has no friends. Her only goal is get through high school with the least amount of humiliation possible, which should be easy— nothing ever happens in the suburbs, right? Wrong.

One day, as Andi walks home from school, a little brown VW drives up and she meets Frank. Frank makes her feel beautiful and special. With Frank, Andi forgets how alone she is.

From boundary breaking author Lesléa Newman comes a haunting story about a girl who is all alone, and a man old enough to know better.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Andi lives a life of quiet isolation in suburban Long Island in a more innocent era, before the Internet and widespread tales of child abduction. Slightly overweight, Andi has no friends and walks back and forth to school to avoid the bullying behavior of her classmates on the bus. When Frank, a man possibly in his thirties, drives by and eventually befriends Andi, she is sure this is true love. While it is clear to the reader that Frank is taking horrible advantage of Andi, Newman is able to convey through Andi's voice that this is the best thing that has ever happened to her. Her dreams of romance are now colored by her times with Frank and when Frank does not react as Andi would like, she adjusts her thinking and her needs to meet his abusive personality. Frank eventually moves on, abandoning Andi without a word. Andi's brother is the only one she can talk to, and even though he is a "loser" in the eyes of their parents, Mike is able to help Andi learn and grow, leaving her a stronger person at the end of the book. Avoiding an unrealistic ending where all is well, Newman manages to show Andi as a girl who is still friendless, but one who knows herself much better at seventeen than she did at fifteen. 2005, Delacorte Press, Ages 14 up.
—Wendy M. Smith-D'Arezzo
KLIATT
Andi may be one of the loneliest 15-year-olds in suburban New Jersey. She calls her parents by their first names or refers to them as "the units." Her only brother is seven years older and smoking dope and flunking out of college again. Andi has no friends. She is so starved for companionship that she befriends Bessie, a broken-down cow who lives in a field next to her walk home. Andi walks home because she refuses to take the bus where other kids will tease and humiliate her. She has never had a boyfriend and she worries about her weight, while her breasts have grown too large to be ignored. She is ripe for someone like Frank, an older man who drives past Bessie's field every day at the same time, and then one day stops the car and invites Andi into part of his world, the part where they tryst in an abandoned house and he exploits her for sex. Frank is clearly a loser creep, but Andi convinces herself that she is in love until he brutally dumps her. This novel is certainly a cautionary tale for misfit girls with low self-esteem and imperfect bodies. However, the writing is evocative enough that Andi and her woes become compelling and her painful rise from the ashes at the end is to be cheered. KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, Random House, Delacorte, 239p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Myrna Marler
School Library Journal
Gr 9-11-Andi is an average student in 1971 suburban Long Island, doesn't have many friends, doesn't open up to anyone, and blends in. When a car drives by and toots at her several days in succession, the 15-year-old begins to create a romantic scenario in her head about the driver. Soon afterward, he stops and says, "Get in, gorgeous." What ensues is a daily meeting after school, when Frank takes Andi to an abandoned house and compliments her, makes her feel pretty, and shares physical intimacy without sex. Andi is ecstatic. However, Frank, moody, unpredictable, and quite a bit older than she, explains that if they're seen in public he will go to jail. On her 16th birthday, they have sex, and she is disappointed. Furious, he tells her that if she ends the relationship, he will paste the intimate photos he took of her around school. They reconcile and make plans to run away, but he never shows up. Andi is hurt-but only for a while. She's grown up a bit since meeting Frank and has started to stand up for herself. Now, too, her brother has returned from college and convinces her of her self-worth. Through Andi, readers see just why some girls take up with the wrong men and do most anything to keep them. While Frank remains a mystery, Andi's family is well developed. The story will keep teen girls listening as the tale unfolds, whether they've loved and lost or not.-Karen Hoth, Marathon Middle/High School, FL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Fifteen-going-on-sixteen, Andi is bored, lonely and cynical in 1970s suburbia. Her sole friend moved away, and her brother, Mike, is busy getting stoned at college, leaving Andi alone with her parents, Shirley and Fred. Shirley is emotionally detached from her husband and children, while Fred forces small fatherly overtures that feel insincere. Eventually, Andi relates a family secret that accounts for their dysfunction. When a chance encounter with much-older Frank develops into a sexual relationship, Andi takes refuge in the illicit affair, possibly because it offers an escape from her tedious and unsatisfactory home life. Frank's mercurial moods run hot and cold, unsettling Andi, but making her crave his approval. The story wraps up a bit too neatly when, after a heart-to-heart with Mike, Andi avoids making a life-altering mistake. Despite the abrupt ending, teens will appreciate the plot that builds satisfactorily to a climax while exposing the underbelly of life in the suburbs. Unfortunately, however, the characters are unremarkable and the 1970s setting adds nothing but outdated slang to the story. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385734059
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 12/12/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.19 (w) x 7.94 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Lesléa Newman is the author of several books for young readers as well as adults. She lives in Northhampton, Massachusetts, and her Web site is www.lesleakids.com.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt

One So this is how it started: It's September 7, 1971, the first day of tenth grade, and I'm walking home after school because I hate taking the bus. No, cancel that. I refuse to take the bus because something always happens on it that makes me look like an idiot. Either Donald Caruso, this junior who just lives to make my life miserable, will stick his big ugly foot out in the aisle to trip me and then laugh his head off like that's the funniest thing in the world, or Hillary Jacoby, who is so desperate to be popular she picks on the lowest of the low (me), will accidentally-on-purpose smush a wad of Bazooka bubble gum into my hair and then look around to see if anyone is impressed with how clever she is.
But that's just kid stuff compared to what happened on a certain day last spring when I woke up late and almost missed the bus. The bus driver saw me running in his rearview mirror and slammed on his brakes so I could catch up. Now, I'm not a person who runs very often, and I guess things were flapping in the breeze because as soon as I climbed on board, before I even had a chance to catch my breath, the whole bus burst into song:
"Do your boobs hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie 'em in a knot?
Can you tie 'em in a bow?
Can you throw 'em over your shoulder Like a continental soldier?
Do your boobs hang low?"
I crossed my arms over my more than ample chest, turned around, and pushed against the door until the bus driver opened it. Then I ran off the bus and swore that from that day on, even if it was raining or snowing or bright purple UFOs were falling from the sky, I would never set foot on a school bus again.
So like I said, I'm walking home from school, down Farm Hill Road, with my army green knapsack on my back, just minding my own business, when this car goes by. Usually I don't notice cars--I mean, a car is a car is a car as far as I'm concerned, unlike Fred, who thinks cars are so important he has to trade in his Caddie every year for a more up-to-date model even though I can never tell the difference.
But this car is really, well, cute, which is a funny way to describe a car, but it is. It's a brown Volkswagen Bug, and you don't see too many of those driving around Suffolk County--also known as Suffocation County--let me tell you. The only other Volkswagen I've ever seen was an orange VW hippie van that belonged to Kevin, this friend of Mike's. Kevin came to pick Mike up one day, and Fred took one look out the window and started screaming, "No kid of mine is getting into a car made by those lousy Krauts," and then Mike screamed back, "Simmer, Freddie--boy, I wasn't even born yet," meaning World War II and everything, and then Fred screamed even louder, "Don't get fresh with me, Michael Kaplan. You'll get into that car over my dead body," which made me think, That could be arranged, Daddy-o, but not really, of course.
So anyway, Kevin drove off, and two seconds later Mike said he was going for a walk, and you'd have to be a total retard not to figure out that he was meeting Kevin on the corner. Anyway, the point is, since we're Jewish and my father grew up during the Holocaust, he is absolutely psycho about the Germans and World War II, he really is. He says Volkswagens are the perfect German car because the motor's in the back so if you get into a head-on collision, the SOBs can just haul your body out of the car and still use the engine. Fred is so anti-German he won't even let us eat sauerkraut on our hot dogs and I'm not even kidding.
So of course I notice the little brown Volkswagen. It looks like a cartoon almost, like a little Hershey's Kiss scooting around in the sun. It's funny when you think about it, but I had no idea then how that little car was going to change my life forever. I didn't think, for example, Before you know it, Andi Kaplan, you're going to be sitting in that little brown Bug doing things you never even imagined. Nope, the thought doesn't even cross my mind.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(6)

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(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2008

    couldn't put it down!

    I'm a big horror novel fan, but i wanted a little break so i picked up a teen book. I thought it would be corny or nagging to me. To my surprise it was amazing! You fall in love with Andi's character and relate on some level. When she's seduced into this random and unhealthy relationship you want to pull her back. This book is fast paced and deep at the same time. Only around 240 pages too so you don't feel overwhelmed. I recomend it to all young readers. Even one's that think horror is the only genre that they like.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2007

    Great!

    This book was great. I honestly hate reading, but my brother dragged me into a bookstore, i read the blurb and it looked interesting, so i ended up buying it. Man, I could not put it down. It was amazing!! I won't lie, it had a pretty crappy ending. But It was deffinantly good.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2006

    good

    interesting, thought-provoking, and a reminder that the dorks might have more a 'life' than people might think

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2006

    OK BOOK...NOT GREAT THO

    I read this book for school and i thought i would be able to relate to it. it turned out to be about the weirdest thing ive ever read. i mean i cant imagine someone just hopping in a car with someone they dont know and letting them do all these horrible things to them. i wouldnt read this if i were you. especially not if you have to write a book report after you read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2011

    Rrally bad

    It was nothing likei thought it would be it was just WEIRD...

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  • Posted May 31, 2011

    Weird...

    This book reminded me of how it felt to have a relationship at such a young age. I think it showed the dangers involved with being a child really well and explain how people do stay in very shady relationships. I liked it but it was only 170 pages long.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Okay Book.

    I thought that this was just an okay book. It wasn't too horrific or tramatic like I thought it would be. Andi did seem to learn from her mistakes.
    That quote at the front of the book that says "Oh, please. There's no such thing as statutory rape. That girl knew exactly what she was doing." which was said by an anonymous woman (overheard in in a coffee shop) shows how ignorant people can really be. That woman is an idiot. Just because the young girl may know what she is doing, doesn't mean that that makes it okay for an older man to go after her. The young girl is an innocent, naive, stupid child and the older man is an adult who should know better than to take advantage of the young girl.
    This book, I don't know, I must be crazy, but at the end all that stayed with me from it were the funny parts. After finishing the book, I just forgot about all the bad parts and came out thinking that this is a funny book, which I don't think is the right thing to be thinking because I'm guessing that the author meant to convey a serious matter. But still, all that I really remember and recall fondly are the funny scenes such as: the "raincoat" mishap, the scene between Donald and Andi that makes Donald have a major personality change, and at the end when Andi meets Lloyd. Ha Ha Ha. LOL. Sheesh. Sigh.
    But still, just an okay book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2008

    it gave me nightmares of unwanted memories

    okay i picked this book because, i must admit, the title caught my eye. as i was reading it i felt as if i had to hide it because it was so real. i felt as if i was Andrea. at the same time i had to sometimes stop reading it because it scared me. for a book to have that much power to scare me is quiet impressive, at the least. at times i would be screaming inside at the main character telling her to grow a back bone and stand up for herself. the way she lost her virginity is sick as well as unattractive. i can relate to the main character, Andi, being a social outcast a while back in a good part of grade school. i can also relate because even though parents don't want to believe teenage girls do like older men and often find themselves in a sort of relationship like the one between Andi and Frank. although, the older men should know better they end up using and taking advantage of the naive girls. this book stills sort of haunts me to this day. it is the type of book i would say for every girl o read before engaging in a relationship with a 30 something man.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2007

    Awesome!

    This book really tells you how a teen feels when they are dating someone older, even though it might be extremely hard to do. I think that everyteenage girl should read this book to find out what happens to Andi, and what could happen to them.

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    Posted January 9, 2011

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    Posted May 5, 2009

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    Posted June 11, 2010

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