Thursday, September 6, 2012

3...2...1, I'm On My Way

Published: August 14th, 2012
Counting Backwards
By: Laura Lascarso
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 9781442406902

Three weeks ago I tried to run away from home. Now all I want is to go back.

When troubled Taylor Truwell is caught with a stolen car and lands in court for resisting arrest, her father convinces the judge of an alternative to punishment: treatment in a juvenile psychiatric correctional facility. Sunny Meadows is anything but the easy way out, and Taylor has to fight hard just to hold on to her sanity as she battles her parents, her therapist, and vicious fellow patients. But even as Taylor struggles to hold on to her stubborn former self, she finds herself relenting as she lets in two unlikely friends-Margo, a former child star and arsonist, and AJ, a mysterious boy who doesn’t speak. In this striking debut, Laura Lascarso weaves together a powerful story of anger and self-destruction, hope and love.


   Taylor Truwell's home life sucked a lot.  With an alcoholic Mom who needs a parent to care for her (not the other way around like it should be), an absent and cold Father she has no reason to stick around.  So she steals a car and tries to run away.  But when she's caught the Judge throws her into Sunny Meadows, a juvenile psychiatric hospital, per her Dad's recommendation.  Angry, scared and seriously lost Taylor is now being forced to take a good long look at her life and why things are going so badly.  Is it really all her parents' fault or is Taylor somewhat to blame too?  Also, can she do things the right way this time and heal, even if it's easier to just run away?  I liked this book a lot.  I felt like I could really identify with Taylor, because even though my Dad wasn't as hardcore of an alcoholic as her Mom, it's still such a hard situation when you're growing up.  All of the broken promises, fighting and unpredictability really wear on your mental state after a while.  I appreciated how angry and seriously panicked she was, but sometimes her behavior made me want to shake some sense into her!  Seriously, stealing a car and running away was the only way to get out?  I think there were some other things she could have tried first!  My favorite character was probably Margo, who is a former child star and arsonist who is in Sunny Meadows due to a nervous breakdown.  But unlike Taylor we meet her when she's already almost completely healed and ready to re-enter the real world.  She is Taylor's mentor and really makes an effort to get her involved with life again and to take getting better seriously.  AJ intrigued me, at first because of his silence and then because of his absolute ability to do the right thing even when it hurt him to (like when Taylor tried to steal the car from Auto Shop and run away again).  The friendship that blooms between them is very realistic and is not easy, but definitely worth it.  I loved the ending for it's realism and it's burst of hope.  I would definitely recommend this book to fans of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins (although it's A LOT cleaner than an Ellen Hopkins book, Yo!).  

VERDICT:  4/5  Stars

*I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie. No favors or money were exchanged for this review.  This book became available for purchase on August 14th, 2012.*

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