The Lost Marble Notebook of Forgotten Girl & Random Boy

144p. ebook available. Sky Pony. Apr. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781632204264.
Gr 9 Up—Two unnamed teenagers find each other on a street corner and realize that they share a love of the written word. Forgotten Girl's parents have just split up and her mother has started drinking. Forgotten Girl copes by journaling about her life, feelings, hopes, and dreams. She meets a very cute boy on the corner one day, and their flirting really takes off when she discovers he is more than just a dude smoking and hanging out on the street; he, too, works through his feelings with a poetry journal. Their romance is chronicled in their verses—they grow close, meet each other's families (with little success), and eventually wind up sleeping together. When Forgotten Girl begins feeling smothered by Random Boy and befriends a boy from her school, things take a scary, violent turn. The book is intense, much like the young couple's relationship. Poetry perfectly captures the heightened emotions of first love. The novel's conceit (that it is Forgotten Girl's notebook and that Random Boy writes in it from time to time) does not always hold up—does he still get to read her journal after they break up? At times, the sophisticated phrasing and vocabulary hint at the adult author rather than reflect the authentic voices of two teens. Nevertheless, the story is realistic, gripping, worrisome yet hopeful.
VERDICT Give this to fans of Sonya Sones and Ellen Hopkins.

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