By Catherine Atkins
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 416 pages
Catherine Atkins’ The File on Angelyn Stark is sure to elicit an emotional response from her readers. Fifteen-year-old Angelyn Stark can’t do anything right in the eyes of her mother. She’s a tough girl who smokes in the girls’ room and makes it a point not to get close enough to anyone to get hurt.
“You’ve got nowhere to go… all your friends are mine” (47).
The only one to make her feel important was a next-door neighbor who helped raise Angelyn. Angelyn hasn’t seen Mrs. Daly since she called the cops on her stepdad three years ago, the call that made Angelyn lie. Since then, her life has spiraled out of control. Her girlfriends are bullies who abandon her, her mother and stepdad ignore her or treat her like a lost-cause, and her boyfriend, Steve is constantly pushing her to be more physically intimate than she’s comfortable with… especially after what happened with her stepdad.
The one person who seems to be on Angelyn’s side is Mr. Rossi, her history teacher. He encourages her and sees the person she really is, or could be. When the lines between teacher and friend become blurred will Mr. Rossi become just another man to use her and let her down?
Reviewed by Emily Davis