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LAURIE THINKS CARLA IS THE LUCKIEST KID IN LOS ANGELES
After all, Carla has parents who let her do anything she wants. Laurie's mother keeps her on a short leash, demanding that she keep the house clean, cook for her sick father, and stay out of trouble. Still, at Carla's instigation, they manage to keep things on the street exciting. Sometimes it's shoplifting, sometimes it's hitching a ride, sometimes it's smoking and flirting on the beach with older guys. If Laurie could only...
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Overview

LAURIE THINKS CARLA IS THE LUCKIEST KID IN LOS ANGELES
After all, Carla has parents who let her do anything she wants. Laurie's mother keeps her on a short leash, demanding that she keep the house clean, cook for her sick father, and stay out of trouble. Still, at Carla's instigation, they manage to keep things on the street exciting. Sometimes it's shoplifting, sometimes it's hitching a ride, sometimes it's smoking and flirting on the beach with older guys. If Laurie could only be as brave and daring as Carla, she knows her life would be a lot more interesting.
But Laurie also knows that Carla sometimes takes crazy chances. And one night when Carla is in trouble only Laurie can help her—only Laurie and one other person, someone who loves Laurie more than she realizes, someone who would do anything to be with her. . . .
"Capture[s] the dark underside of growing up . . . Teens will empathize with Laurie's desire to be free from familial rules and responsibilities, and the realism of some scenes will horrify yet fascinate them."
—School Library Journal

A fifteen-year-old girl draws back from the false glamour of Los Angeles street life when an oft envied childhood friend becomes sexually promiscuous and overdoses on drugs.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Laurie Greenspan thinks her hip friend Carla has "the coolest parents in the world,'' especially compared with Laurie's Russian migre mother ("You only had to screw up once around Lena Greenspan to figure out which side of the Volga you'd landed on''). Her father, once a rising academic, is utterly ineffectual, a "shell of a man'' since a traffic accident 10 years ago, and her geeky older brother, Murray, gets all the praise and attention. Rebelling, 15-year-old Laurie tries to act like the ever-wilder Carla, who hooks up with a group of drug-dealing bikers. First-novelist Fitch's dialogue can be pungent ("'You think I give a flying fuck if [my parents] CARE?' Carla shrieked....'Go take your sympathy and cram it up your ass'"). In contrast to, for example, Shelley Stoehr's graphic Weird on the Outside, Fitch's use of explicit language and her close-up treatment of seamy scenarios serves a clear purpose: it demonstrates her understanding of teenage temptations. In this way Laurie's final rejection of the fast life seems part of the drama, not a cautionary message. True to its title, this accomplished work packs quite a kick. Ages 14-up.
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-Gritty and explicit, this novel of peer pressure explores the lure and false glamour of L.A. street life. Laurie, 15, spends her summer vacation caring for her brain-damaged father, while her strict Russian-emigre mother works grueling hours to support the family. A bright but sheltered teen, Laurie wishes that her life could be more like that of her hip friend Carla, whose psychologist parents give her lots of spending money and freedom, with no questions asked. Sneaking out in the afternoons, Laurie joins Carla and the two shoplift or hitchhike to the beach. Caught riding home with some boys, Laurie is grounded for the summer, but her mother helps her to get a job. She sneaks out to a party with Carla and her biker rock musician boyfriend. There, nearly raped while stoned out of her mind, she wakes up. When Carla ODs, it is Laurie and her mother who come to her aid because the girl's parents want to "let her make her own mistakes and experience the consequences of her choices.'' Teens will emphathize with Laurie's desire to be free from familial rules and responsibilities, and the realism of some scenes will horrify yet fascinate them. Fitch's writing doesn't match the humor or lyricism of L.A. street novels such as Ron Koertge's The Harmony Arms (Little, 1992) and Francesca Lia Block's Weetzie Bat (HarperCollins, 1989), but it does capture the dark underside of growing up. It shows two kids teetering on the brink of disaster, at risk because their parents are too busy or too self-involved to supervise their activities.-Alice Casey Smith, Monmouth County Library Headquarters, Manalapan, NJ
Stephanie Zvirin
Laurie, whose Russian-born mother rules with an iron hand, thinks Carla, her friend from childhood, has the perfect life--plenty of money, noninterfering parents, courage, confidence, and a devil-may-care attitude that makes each day a lively adventure. The shoplifting and hitchhiking the girls do make Laurie vaguely uncomfortable, but the idea of losing Carla's friendship because she's chicken is enough to make Laurie push aside her apprehensions. When Carla's flashiness and promiscuity begin to attract boys, Laurie is finally left behind--and, after extricating her friend from a bikers' den, where Carla has overdosed, Laurie realizes that that's fine with her. There are certainly no surprises here, but the made-for-TV quality about it all is sure to lure a few readers. What's more, Fitch's style is plain and unpretentious, and her depiction of Laurie's dissatisfaction with her family and life will strike a familiar chord among teens. The sweaty backseat pawing during a double date is fairly explicit, and there's a vivid, almost stereotypical description of a bikers' haven where sex and drugs are readily available. But these aren't exploitive, purposeless scenes. Rather, they send readers a clear message about how not to behave. A facile but certainly readable story, with a happy ending for Laurie, if not for her very troubled friend.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449704523
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/2/1996
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 10
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.17 (w) x 6.88 (h) x 0.61 (d)

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