One day, 17-year old Sia wakes up on a park bench, in her running gear, with no idea who she is. After a week navigating the rough streets, and being taken in by homeless Carol, she is reunited with her family. Remembering nothing, she finds she was the school's Queen Mean Girl. Horrified by who she was, she seeks to rectify past hurts and mend family dysfunctions. Most people like the new Sia, but what will happen when her memory returns?
Sia, written by Josh Grayson, has a great message, and the characters reminded me a lot of The O.C. TV show. However, after the first third-ish, I was kind of put off by how easily everything changed for Sia--just because she was nice now. There's a situation with her alcoholic mother, and after one conversation she lets down her guard...after fighting up to that point of the book. Another thing that had me throwing my hands up, yelling "Why!?! Why are you telling everyone that!?!" was her telling anyone who would listen her family's impending financial situation. Though, I guess if I was so into it I yelled at a character, that speaks to some good writing :)
Those minor details aside, I loved the premise. I also loved Carol, the homeless lady who befriends Sia, and I appreciated their relationship. It's a good lesson for kids to learn- that you never know a) what others have been through, and b) who's going to make a difference in your life.
While I think there are other books on the "bad girl gone good" front that some teens would like more, this one would be appropriate for those in more conservative households. No sex, no profanity (that I can recall...maybe some minor stuff)- nothing terribly offensive, and I find that wholly refreshing. Ah...just saw the screenplay will be submitted to Disney and ABC Family next year. Actually, I think it would be perfect in that context!
It's an enjoyable read, and if you're not frustrated by the minor things I mentioned, go for it! It's absolutely appropriate for younger tween/teen girls. It's also intriguing as far as getting me to Google "fugue amnesia."
Sia is self-published by Josh Grayson. Digital ARC provided by NetGalley.
Release Date: 11.20.2013