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Publishers WeeklyBlank (Almost Home) pens a second tale involving drug abuse, absentee parenting and neglected teens flouting authority. As in her debut, she sets her sights on a fringe community-this time, a hippie cult-and catalogs life there, with mixed results. Many of her descriptions of communal life border on the cliché: waifish, beatific followers in flowing skirts and white robes, chanting sessions, daily seva ("selfless service," aka chores), a lecherous TV-watching guru, and touchy-feely mantras about surrendering desires and "Purity of Being." But 14-year-old Tessa's flight from her mother, who is desperate for a spiritual makeover, despite Tessa's misery on the commune, and into the willing arms of Colin, a 20-year-old who fixes broken VW buses on the ashram, strikes a nerve. While Tessa's clandestine relationship may initially seem deliciously rebellious and romantic to some, things quickly spiral out of control, both for Tessa and her mother, whose sexual connection to the guru is revealed. Eventually, wayward mother and daughter reunite, but not before unfortunate (and implausibly wrapped-up) lessons are learned on both ends. Ages 13-up.
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