Author:  Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
ISBN:  978-0-385-73901-6

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A debut novel that reminds every person of that first one...that first love who looked in our eyes, saw nothing but us, and made us feel like we were the brightest, prettiest, best significant other in the world.
 
Ariadne Mitchell (Ari) is a young girl who attends the public school, thinks she’s rather dull and boring, and has had one kiss in her life from a boy who told her afterward that she was only a “4 out of 10” on the good-looking scale.  Her best friend, however, is Summer Simon.  Summer is one of those model-types who everyone in the world loves – girls want to be her friend and boys practically fall at her feet when she walks by.  She enrolled in a swank prep school located on the Upper East side of Manhattan.  Having money or prestige wasn't the reason, Summer actually fled the local high school because of the jealous gossip and rude stories that were being circulated about her.  In fact, the only one who befriended her was Ari. 
 
Ari’s mom is a teacher and her father is a homicide detective in the NYPD.  Tough is too weak of a label to place on these two.  Her sister’s name is Evelyn and she’s married to Patrick, who is one of those gorgeous fireman who decorate calendars.  A pretty normal upbringing and fairly mundane, average life when you look at the big scheme of things, but Ari’s world is about to explode all around her as she quickly realizes that all her dreams and prayers may actually come true.
 
Living in Summer’s shadow is a bit difficult for Ari.  She’s had to do it before with her sister, who was the tall, voluptuous, beautiful one of the family.  Evelyn had met Patrick and gotten pregnant when she was only eighteen, and Ari swears to herself that she will never get stuck in that situation.  She wants to be something more, but her heart does long for a man to tell her that she’s the prettiest of them all.  When Ari’s
Uncle Eddie passes away and leaves the family an inheritance, Ari’s mom jumps at the chance to make sure that her youngest daughter doesn’t end up like her oldest – a wife with two kids who definitely wants out of what she’s gotten herself into.  So away Ari goes, into the prep school that Summer rules over like a queen. 

 
Leigh is a girl that Ari meets on the very first day.  Completely different than her beauty-queen best friend, Leigh actually shares Ari’s interests, like art and drawing  On top of that, Leigh is a girl who would love to have a good friend like Ari to spend time with.  Although extremely difficult at the beginning because Summer wants Ari to have nothing to do with anyone but her, a friendship soon grows between Ari and Leigh.  Not only that, but as Ari begins to meet and greet Leigh’s family, she finds herself incredibly attracted to Blake, Leigh’s cousin.  Even though her own mother rides Ari constantly about her studies, Ari can’t help the attraction that grows inside her for Blake.  She’s always been alone – living like a saint because she not only wants her mother to be proud but she wants to never end up like her sister.  Now she knows the time has come to open her heart
 
Blake is a nice young man who was raised in Georgia.  Although his father is a strong man who runs his own law office and wants – no, demands – that his son follow in his footsteps, Blake has always secretly wanted to throw it all away and become a firefighter.  Unfortunately, the courage and strength he needs to sand up to his father is simply not there.   As Ari and Blake become closer, each one finds that they are truly falling head over heels in love with each other.  But just when Ari believes that her life has taken a turn for the better and she’s finally come out from everyone’s shadow, fate intervenes.
 
The author has done a wonderful job portraying the relationships between the family members, especially the mother/daughter relationship between Evelyn and her mom.  Their hate/love tug-of-war is filled with real emotion and the reader will find themselves wondering who, exactly, to route for. 
 
Ari is a wonderful character that reminds us all about the awkwardness that we all felt during our teenage years.  And although her mother/daughter relationship becomes a little annoying sometimes, because her mother only seems to talk about two things through the entire book, readers will certainly be able to identify with the yearnings, excitement, and pain of first love.
 

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