The fall of Lisa Bellow : [a novel] / Susan Perabo.

"What happens to the girl left behind? A masked man with a gun enters a sandwich shop in broad daylight, and Meredith Oliver suddenly finds herself ordered to the filthy floor, where she cowers face to face with her nemesis, Lisa Bellow, the most popular girl in her eighth grade class. The minutes t...

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Main Author: Perabo, Susan, 1969-
Published: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2017.
Edition: 1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed.
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Review by Booklist Review

Perabo's gripping second novel, following her story collection, Why They Run the Way They Do (2016), portrays a family in the aftermath of emotional and physical trauma. Thirteen-year-old Meredith Oliver navigates the typical insecurities of middle school, feeling particularly vulnerable to the social influence of the popular clique ruled by the attractive Lisa Bellows. One day after school, Meredith stops by a deli in which the other customer is none other than Lisa. Things take a disturbing turn when the shop is robbed and the perpetrator abducts Lisa but not Meredith. The tale unfolds from the perspectives of Meredith and her mother, Claire, as they deal with the event's complex fallout, including survivor's guilt. Meredith becomes increasingly distant, internalizing an alternate narrative of the kidnapping and unexpectedly connecting with a friend of Lisa's. Claire, meanwhile, cannot reconcile how to best communicate with her daughter as she internally mines her own culpability. Perabo captures both the unease and bravado of adolescence alongside the worries of parenthood and is unafraid to explore the family members' flaws as they attempt to emerge from chaos.--Strauss, Leah Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

A middle-class suburban family, comfortable in a life that has provided them with "a lovely home and roomy van and a reliable second car," is the subject of the sharp and suspenseful novel from the author of The Broken Places. Parents Claire and Mark, who share a dental practice, have just begun to recover from a freak baseball-practice accident that has left their son, high school senior Evan, nearly blind in one eye when their daughter, 13-year-old Meredith, finds herself the victim of an armed robbery at a local deli. During the incident Meredith's classmate Lisa is kidnapped, while Meredith is left lying on the floor. Traumatized, over the next few months she retreats gradually into her own imaginary world. The novel's tension arises as much from Perabo's insight into a complex and changing family dynamic as from the horror of an unusual but believable situation. Perabo's female characters are particularly strong. Meredith's struggles to make sense of the middle-school social hierarchy parallel Claire's efforts to overcome her ambivalence about motherhood, and both are heightened by the attack and its aftermath. Survivor's guilt takes on a unique form here, as the novel plays with the reader's understanding of what is actually going on in Meredith's world. Agent: Molly Friedrich, Friedrich Agency (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

Meredith is a typical seventh grader teetering between the innocence of childhood and the worldliness of adolescence. Her adored older brother Evan sustained an injury months earlier, ending his college scholarship hopes and blinding him in one eye. Meredith, as the second child, is unsure of her role in the family. At school she is also in between: not in the popular group (though she obsesses over the girls who do rule the middle school halls) but not a total loser, either. Mean-spirited and sharp-tongued Lisa Bellow is the undisputed queen of the junior high elite, and Meredith and Lisa have little in common. Then Meredith stops into a deli after school for a soda and sees Lisa there getting a sandwich. A masked man enters, looking for money, and abducts Lisa. The popular kids, Lisa's young single mother, and others in town join the search for the missing girl. At this point, Perabo introduces her strongest conceit: artfully cutting between scenes in which Meredith has been left behind and those in which Meredith was kidnapped along with Lisa. The true nature of these seemingly contradictory sections is left intentionally vague and should keep readers intrigued. Readers will empathize with Meredith, while older teens will also be drawn to Meredith's mother, Claire. The pairing of typical family life with the ripped-from-the-headlines drama results in a thoughtful, unforgettable story. VERDICT A hypnotically suspenseful novel dissecting the effects of a young girl's trauma. Purchase where trendy psychological thrillers are popular.-Tara Kehoe, formerly at the New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center, Trenton © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.