Notes on a Near-Life Experience

Notes on a Near-Life Experience by Olivia Birdsall.

This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking look at the effect of divorce on a teen girl.  Mia’s father moves out of the house after years of fighting that they tried to hide from the children.  Before the divorce, the family had things that marked them as a great family:  home-made birthday cakes, packed school lunches ready and waiting, and Jeopardy in the evenings.  But when her father leaves, so do those hallmarks of her family.  As Mia’s family life falls apart, her romance with a long-time crush begins to heat up.  But can she make sense of all of these new feelings and experiences before she drowns in them? 

I loved the characterizations here.  The fact that the they were flawed and interesting made the book work.  Mia was complicated as were her siblings, her best friend and her parents.  The book is all about living in a complicated world where nothing is as simple as it once seemed.

Recommend this to preteen girls.  This is a perfect tween novel with romance, best friends and family angst.