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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Stella Parrish is an observant, clever, high school senior, finishing up her spring term, and slated to enter Princeton University in the fall. But Stella may never get there -- because she's systematically preparing to end her life.
Stella is the protagonist of Seigel's debut novel, and Stella's increasing detachment from her home, her school, and her friends will send a shiver through anyone who thinks the suburbs are a safe place to raise kids. True, Stella's story is an uncommon one. Both of her parents died of a drug overdose on Stella's 11th birthday, and her only living relative, a belligerent grandfather, lives in a nursing home, where he regularly antagonizes the staff. Her foster parents are aloof, and when Stella begins to cut classes at school, her principal attributes this behavior to an advanced case of "senioritis."
Nevertheless, Stella lives in an upper-middle-class suburb, surrounded by students who care about their performance in school. But Stella spends her days wandering around, having unproductive conversations with nearly everyone in her life, none of whom recognizes the severity of her problems or throws out a safety net. Like the Red Panda is funny, dark, and hugely important. And it should provoke a closer look at the seemingly contented teenagers we think we know. (Summer 2004 Selection)