Lemon is seventeen and pregnant. The baby’s father is a stoned thirty-something tattoo artist—and now her mother’s latest fling.
So begins a raw and beautiful story about a girl who learns about the difference between intentions and actions –about her identity as a daughter, a romantic partner, and a loyal friend.
Lemon leaves school and embarks on a cross-country bus trip with her hard-partying friend, Emmy, in an attempt to reconnect with the father she never knew. Along the way, she is forced to makes sense of her troubled and self-centered mother, Stella, and come to terms with her own behavior with boys and men who clearly don’t value her.
It is fair to say that I would have loved this book as a young adult. As a mom, it made me lose sleep. That is not a bad thing. Sure, the novel has scenes that are very graphic, but here is the larger picture. KP Madonia writes with such unerring honesty about the hurts, large and small, that shape a girl, that the story transcends the discomfort it presents. Instead, it moves to the place where we keep those books that we all read in secret to find solace from our humiliations. It’s about that scary last sliver of childhood, when our bodies are grown, but our experience too spotty, that risky time that we all remember forever. MM