Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bad Tickets by Kathleen O'Dell

I really enjoyed this book. Takes place in the sixties - a coming of age / identity story. It wasn't very predictable, it was realistic (although that's easy for me to say, not having been around in the 60's). YAY.

From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—It's almost summer in 1967 in Oregon, and Mary Margaret Hallinan, age 16, eagerly anticipates the end of the school year. The formerly good Catholic girl has changed since Jane Stephens arrived at Sacred Heart Academy after trying to run away with a boy. Mary Margaret strives to avoid her mother's unhappy life (five children, a miserable husband, and piles of laundry) and goes against her better instincts to follow Jane's overly confident lead. Their escapades move beyond escaping school at lunch and into smoking pot at the home of some college boys. Jane encourages Mary Margaret to find a "good ticket" among the guys at The Rainbow House. Anxious to find her own ticket, Jane is blind to the truth that the guy she wants doesn't want her, while Mary Margaret finally ignores Jane's opinion and makes her move on Mitchell, her longtime crush from school. With a style reminiscent of Deb Caletti and Sarah Dessen, O'Dell shows readers how Mary Margaret learns some truths about herself, her mother, her former best friend, Jane, and what it means to have a good ticket. Older teens will enjoy and relate to this humorous and engaging story with just a bit of spirituality.—Sarah Krygier, Solano County Library, Fairfield, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist
*Starred Review* Mary Margaret Hallinan is a good Catholic girl until she meets Jane. Jane is a risk-taker, someone who instructs Mary Margaret to say yes to life. In this case, yes means heading into Portland to partake of the hippie lifestyle, complete with plenty of marijuana. With insight and humor, O'Dell gives the good-girl-bad-girl story new depth. Everything is done well. The 1967 setting is freshly evoked, even as it shows that time hasn't changed the way friendships twist and turn. Equally interesting is O'Dell's take on romance. Mary Margaret finally turns her longtime crush, Mitch, into a boyfriend, though Jane thinks Mitch is a "bad ticket," someone who will lead Mary Margaret nowhere. Mary Margaret knows a lot about going nowhere. Her mother married her genial father when she became pregnant, and now, five children later, she fights with her daughter and tries to make the best of her diaper-filled life. Thanks in part to Jane's helping her see life differently, but mostly because of own her strength of character, Mary Margaret is able to shape her romance with Mitch into a relationship of equals. The schoolgirl in the mini skirt on the cover may attract readers, but the picture doesn't do justice to the strong female characters inside.


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