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Faking 19

Review

Faking 19

Despite the differences in their financial backgrounds, Alex and M. are still just two teen girls trying to figure things out. Alex is bored with school and is beginning to fail several classes as she tries to fit into a faster grove of life. She would like to go to college, but with her grades failing and living with her single mom, what are the chances? M. has doors opened thanks to her beauty and because her parents belong to the right country clubs. She doesn't have to worry about college because Daddy can pay her way. Both girls decide it's more fun to party than hang out with their boring classmates. It's their senior year so why the heck not?

Alex is witty, bright and funny in her observations of the world around her and looks at friends and herself with candor:

"I'm big into grooming. In an average shower I use shampoo, conditioner (deep conditioner in the summer), lavender-scented shaving gel, facial cleanser, facial scrub, and body cleansing gel, followed by body scrub. While my skin is still damp I spray on body oil, which I let soak in for about sixty seconds, then I lightly pat my skin dry and apply body lotion, deodorant, astringent, lip balm, leave-in conditioner, and a tiny bit of some perfume sample. This month it's Gucci Rush because I like the name. I'm a total product whore."

Somewhere along the line Alex is beginning to worry about this "burden" of being a virgin and decides that if the right fella comes along she just might get the whole business over with:

"My mom talks about the giant steps that women have taken since she was my age, but I just don't see it. I mean, maybe we can vote and stuff but there's still these really burdensome social rules that just won't change, like sex. It may seem like everybody in your school is doing it, and most of them probably are, but let's face it, girls that experiment get labeled as sluts, while the guys get the stud trophy. And that's why there will be no sweaty high school stuff for me. No getting biblical in the backseat with some icky senior."

It's with this philosophy in mind that she and M. are able to lie about their ages and begin hanging out with two older rich guys, Connor and Trevor. But when she confesses her lie to Connor (after the deed is done), there is an immediate falling out. While Alex agonizes over the consequences of this situation, she begins to notice that M. is acting more erratic than usual. Finally, and most unexpectedly, Alex discovers that M. is a regular user of heavy drugs in this high-party lifestyle she loves.

As Alex pulls away from M. and the "almost" relationship with Connor, she discovers some great things about herself. Her English teacher encourages her short story writing and her counselor advises her about college possibilities. She also must deal with a detached father and her mother who, though she does come around, does not at first want to recognize her daughter's troubled life.

Both the cover of this clever little book and its story have a "Gossip Girl" kind of feel to it. Parents and educators should be aware that the sexual situations in this story are handled very casually. FAKING 19 does allow that there are some serious consequences when we let ourselves become sidetracked from what is really important. Alex and M., despite their foolish mistakes, are fresh and endearing characters.

Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts on February 10, 2005

Faking 19
by Alyson Noël

  • Publication Date: February 10, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • ISBN-10: 0312336330
  • ISBN-13: 9780312336332