New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2006
is a good Mormon daughter, 17 years old. She is good at school, happily
wears homemade clothes, and takes care of her six younger sisters. But
Dad is a drunk who beats up on Mom and Mom is literally only there to make
babies. Dad had a family - a wife and two sons - once before but has lost
them all and wants nothing more than a son. But he has seven daughters.
Then Pattyn meets Derek. Derek teaches her to drink, to kiss, to feel pretty,
and Derek almost - just almost - gets her virginity. Dad finds out and
suddenly Pattyn is sent to her Aunt J's ranch in Nevada for the summer.
Aunt J is strong, independent, and *not* Mormon. She teaches Pattyn to
drink coffee, to drive a car, to wrangle cows, and all about real love.
Pattyn grows up a lot that summer and likes who she has become. But then
she has to go home, back into that abusive household where she'll never
be good enough. In fact, things only get worse. How would you deal if you
were in Pattyn's shoes?
The main character of this
novel written in verse is Pattyn Von Stratten the eldest of 8 sisters.
Her parents are religious, and strict, but her father is an abusive alcoholic
and her mother is a docile, unfocused, obedient, and always pregnant wife.
Pattyn questions God, love, sex, and the church’s definition of "a woman’s
role". Discovered dating a non-Mormon boy, Pattyn’s father banishes her
to the Nevada wilderness to live with his sister for the summer. But time,
Pattyn Aunt J welcomes and accepts her, she discovers her strengths, and
finds her true love, Ethan. She learns of the effects nuclear weapons testing
years earlier in the Nevada desert have had on Aunt J and her neighbors.
Aunt J reveals the tragedy of her relationship with her brother, Pattyn’s
father, and the story of her own struggle for independence and self-confidence.
The story does not end happily, as Pattyn returns home to even greater
unhappiness and moral dilemmas, and the reader is left wondering if Pattyn
can escape her tragic circumstances.
Family problems -- Fiction.
Mormons -- Fiction.
Alcoholism -- Fiction.
Identity -- Fiction.
Sex -- Fiction.
Aunts -- Fiction.
Nevada -- Fiction.