Reviewed by Allison Fraclose for TeensReadToo.com
Laine hated her, and wished many times that Leah would die and leave her alone. She didn't understand Leah, or why Leah chose her to be her best friend all those years ago. She didn't understand the things that Leah did to her in the doll closet, or why Leah would torment her with that knowledge and the shame that Laine felt. As they grew older, she didn't understand the problems that Leah faced, or the impact that they had on her behavior. As their English teacher told them once, you only hate what you don't understand.
Now that Leah Greene has died, Laine forces herself to try to understand Leah, and the things that Leah taught her about friendship and secrets. Friends are forever, Leah told her. Permanent just like the ink that Leah used to stake her claim on Laine's hand back when they were young. Laine must now face the impact of what "forever" really means, and how it has affected her own aspects of the world.
Jo Knowles has penned a stunning book that takes an introspective look at the scars of childhood abuse at the hands of a child's peers. Laine's experiences will have a profound impact on anyone who has ever wondered about the dynamics of child sociology, and how the damaging effects of abuse resonate from the original victims. For the mature young adult.
Lessons from a Dead Girl is a suspenseful story that kept me on edge the whole time. I never felt relaxed even after the last page was turned, and the book was tucked away on my shelf. It shows how kids that are abused at a young age can turn around and abuse other kids. The main character, Laine, has to go through her life wondering if shes as messed up as she feels. All because her best friend, Leah, abused her at a young age and continued to do so through-out high school. This isnt a happy read at all. Although there are some glimpses of Laine having moments where I thought she would pull through; these moments are usually ruined by the Leah.
This Young Adult book should be kept in the high school age range, as there are a lot of sexual situations, drinking, and a bit drugs written into this story that are probably not suitable for middle school readers.
This is a very emotional story that sucks you in and doesnt let you go. My heart ached for Laines situation. I also felt anger towards Leah, even though her story is just as heart breaking as Laines. This is a great read, and I cant wait to see what Jo Knowles turns out next.