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My Tiki Girl by Jennifer McMahon

My Tiki Girl

by Jennifer McMahon

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776232,798 (3.57)5
79 (1) 2009 (2) bipolar (1) coming out story (2) death (5) family (3) father (1) fathers (1) fiction (5) gender (1) grief (2) high school (5) hunger (1) identity (2) jennifer mcmahon (2) lesbian (9) lgbt (2) loss (3) love (2) mental illness (5) music (3) neglect (1) outsiders (1) poverty (1) self-acceptance (2) teen (3) to-read (10) wishlist (2) YA (9) young adult (6)
  1. 00
    Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden (CurrerBell)
    CurrerBell: Annie on My Mind is the classic; but, first published in 1982, it may be a bit dated in the issue that it addresses. My Tiki Girl (2008), which deals with peer pressure and harassment and also includes issues of children suffering from parental abuse or neglect, may be of more immediate contemporary interest.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
I thought this was such a wonderful book about the need to feel loved, whether it is by a friend, someone who needs that same feeling at a given time, etc.
Maggie has survived an accident that killed her mother. She now walks with a gimp and considers herself "Frankenstein Girl". She was once one of the most popular girls in school, but has retreated, and her classmates have sort of pushed her aside, maybe because they don't know how to deal with her loss and change.
Maggie comes to recognize the alienatation of a girl who is new to the school, Dahlia. She approaches her and they slowly become friends. Maggie becomes involved in Dahlia's rather strange home life. Maggie's mother is very weird, with dolls that hold witching powers, Dahlia's brother is 10 and considers himself a wizard, dressing as such.

To me the essence of this book was the feel to be wanted and understood by somebody. It brought to the forefront teenage angst and just needing to have someone care about you. ( )
  JReynolds1959 | Mar 3, 2018 |
Started out shocking, what with mom dead in a car crash that severely injured daughter, and the new friend's mom who teaches the kids to shoplift just for fun and who won't take her medicine. Then tries to up the ante by making our innocent MC develop a crush on the new friend and fret 'oh no I can't be a lesbo can I?!' as if that's such a horrible thing. And then it gets worse. And then it has a fairy-tale ending. After reading this we do, almost, better understand the motivations of some of those who sacrifice their sense of self to follow the rules of a clique to feel less isolated and more popular. But only 'almost' & 'some' and superficially.

I have to admit, the only reason I kept reading is because I have a similar injury (from a motorcycle accident) and I wanted to get some bibliotherapy about bum legs. However, the MC can, if pressed, run. I can't. Nor do I bitch and moan as much as she does. Heck, she's supposed to be taking antidepressants herself (her friend's mom is supposed to be taking Lithium). I don't, never did.

This is an engaging read, I'll admit. But I have so many issues with it, beyond my energy to enumerate here, that I'll just say it boils down to one of those 'issues' books and I cannot recommend it. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Excellent teen-lesbian coming-of-age story published in 2008. The classic such novel is Nancy Garden's Annie on My Mind, but Garden's novel is perhaps a bit dated. (First published in 1982, the issue in Garden's novel is a school administration's disapproval of a lesbian relationship, which is definitely a "dated" issue today for a "progressive" non-religious private school in Manhattan.) My Tiki Girl, in contrast, addresses issues of peer pressure and harassment, which current-day readers might find of more interest. ( )
  CurrerBell | Feb 26, 2016 |
The story is about Maggie, a girl who used to be popular until a car accident killed her mother and left her with a scarred and limping leg. Maggie can't face her old popular friends, so she becomes close to one of the outcasts, Dahlia, who loves Sylvia Plath, wants to form a band, and has a crazy family. As Maggie gets wrapped up in the elaborate fantasy life Dahlia's family creates, Maggie also loses herself to the power and fear that is first love...with Dahlia.

I feel like I've read a lot of YA books about being gay, and not many about being lesbian. It's really not the same. So firstly, even if this book sucked, it does fill a niche. But it didn't suck. Maggie is a real and likable character, but not perfect. I was yelling at her a lot. Dahlia is similar to Kori from Undone, and Alaska from Looking for Alaska, in that she's that "omg such a cool girl, marches to the beat of her own drummer, doesn't take shit from anyone" kind of person, but then McMahon draws the character even further, Dahlia's care for her mentally ill mother, her longing to be popular even as she distances herself, her anger at being poor.

The love angle of the book is very powerfully written as well. Maggie goes through all the hard points of tough love and possible rejection as well as wondering if she is a lesbian, and how would people react.

My last point to make is that the mother's death is handled well. The story comes out in small pieces, but still near the beginning, and isn't dwelt upon. Maggie feels like a murderer, and her relationship with her father is harmed because of the guilt, Maggie's relationship with her exbest friend is also changed from the guilt. But the accident is never exploited by the author, never goes into a pityfest for Maggie, never feels maudlin.

I really recommend this book to any of my friends who is reading this. ( )
  LarsTheLibrarian | Mar 10, 2010 |
Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com

Maggie Keller's life turned upside down the day she forgot Toto. In eighth grade, Maggie was cast as Dorothy, the lead in The Wizard of Oz. As her mom is driving her to rehearsal, Maggie shouts out that she forgot the stuffed dog at home. Her mom, without checking the traffic around them, turns the car around and causes an accident.

Maggie was once the most popular girl in her class. But after the accident, she has a deformed leg, and considers herself the Frankenstein of the class. Her ex-best friend, Sukie, is the new #1 girl and has a new best friend, Heather. Maggie is on the fringes of school society now.

When Dahlia Wainwright arrives at school, the two form their own exclusive freak club. Dahlia lives by her own rules, not caring what others think. Maggie tries to live that way ATA (after the accident.) Maggie is enamored with Dahlia's home life. Jonah, Dahlia's younger brother, thinks he's magical. And Dahlia's mom, Leah, weaves creative worlds with the dolls that she collects. Leah welcomes Maggie into their lives, dubbing her "LaSamba," the sad clown.

Slowly, Maggie starts to question her feelings for Dahlia. A simple touch of Dahlia's hand causes sparks inside Maggie. Maggie has never felt like this before, certainly not with Sukie, and in hindsight, not with her old boyfriend, Albert.

Soon, the school is hearing rumors about Maggie and Dahlia. For all Dahlia's talk of not caring, she has started to enjoy popularity, and doesn't want to disappear into the unknown again.

The issues in MY TIKI GIRL are definitely for an older reader. Though there are no actual sex scenes in the story, the underlying context is very apparent and may be too much for a younger reader. Maggie struggles to come to terms with whom she is and who she is supposed to be. With a distant father at home, and unusual friends at school, Maggie must decide what it is she wants and go after it. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 12, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0525479430, Hardcover)

Maggie was looking for a friend in Dahlia. She never guessed she’d find love, too.

All the tenth-grade girls hate Dahlia Wainwright—a smart, natural beauty and freaky outsider all in one. And that’s exactly what Maggie Keller is drawn to, for she herself is an outsider, having withdrawn from the high school elite crowd after a car accident that killed her mother—an accident for which she blames herself. But Dahlia’s friendship—a manic journey into new identities and outrageous behavior— transforms Maggie in ways she could never have imagined. In her stunning first young adult novel, bestselling adult author Jennifer McMahon paints a lush portrait of the healing power of love.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:27 -0400)

Fifteen-year-old Maggie, still grieving the loss of her mother in an accident that also gave her a limp, has turned her back on old friends but connects with a new student, Dahlia, who makes her part of quickly family and plans their future together as roving musicians and lovers.… (more)

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