Despite—or perhaps because of—her fancy car, private school education, and life of privilege, Lola Renaldi has become a volunteer junkie. Feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, visiting the elderly—if it’s a good cause, she’s done it.
Lola’s favorite stint, building affordable houses, puts her directly in the path of Rodney. He refuses to discuss why he’s doing community service, but it’s clear he’s hiding something dark about his past. As their friendship grows, Lola begins to question the true reasons for her obsessive volunteerism and her view of those she has pledged to help.
She is only beginning to understand how lucky she truly is when her life falls apart. After losing friends, her boyfriend, even Rodney, Lola finally recognizes which parts of her life she wants to hang on to and what specifically she wants to go after. But with all she’s been through, will she be able to hang onto who she wants to be? Or will she lose all that defines her?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Have you ever volunteered for an organization that helps people in need? If so, how did it make you feel? Doing for others, whether it’s providing meals, taking someone to the doctor, mowing lawns, or whatever brings joy not only to the recipient but to the volunteer as well. Or it should. In Author Kai Strand’s latest young adult novel, I AM ME, we meet Lola Renaldi, a high school senior who has most everything a girl could want. Being wealthy doesn’t always mean being happy, however. Lola and her mother disagree on many things, like which college she should attend, which boy she should like, and how she should dress, among other things. I like the way Lola stands up for herself, even though she sometimes has doubts about what she is doing. Lola volunteers at a kitchen where she helps serve food to those in need. She also helps build houses, where she meets Rodney, a boy who is different from the other boys she knows. He has secrets, and she cannot figure him out. Kai Strand has created characters that are not perfect but seem so real they might be your neighbors. Lola makes mistakes. She doesn’t always know what’s best for her to do. But Lola is loyal to her best friend when she gets in trouble. And then there’s Rodney (Rod) who has stolen her heart. What will she do when she learns the truth about him? I AM ME touches on situations that many teens face today. Perhaps Kai Strand’s novel will help them make tough decisions and see that they are “Me,” not who someone else wants them to be. This story would make a great addition to high school libraries as well as public libraries. Recommended.