But the instant everything changes, you know. It's just like - one second you are one thing, and then you're something else...A moment of clarity in which, briefly, the entire future of everything is laid out clearly before you and then is gone. p.13Let me just say that I've been there. My best friend is college was a Francie. No, not a chronic shoplifter, but someone so big that you think they can make everything better and they do. I was (am) very shy, but when I meet my friend, everything changed. I was much cooler just being with her than I had ever been. But people like that always has dark secrets and they will evidently pull you into them. I tell you this only because I want you to know that I related to Valentina in a very serious way. Up to a point. And then I couldn't understand her anymore. I get the magnetic attraction, but I feel like I am missing something important about this story.
There's no doubt that Bennett Madison is an excellent writer. Show, don't tell. What I'm always looking for in a good novel and he has that ability to describe things exactly right; to give details without shoving them down the reader's throat. Are Francie and Valentina sympathetic characters? Well, that answer gets complicated. Yes they are and then no they aren't. They are very compelling though. I think they expected too much from each other. Other people can never really fix you. You have to fix yourself.
The other thing I wanted to mention was the language. There was a lot of flack about how the girls talk and the slang they used. I don't want to criticize in either direction, but I'm sure they was a reason for it. I'm going to link to an article about it which contains Madison's comments on the subject. It is very thought-provoking (make sure to read the comments). Also there was some drinking and smoking which normally doesn't bother me but then I kept reminding myself that they are only suppose to be 14. They act so much older.
(P.S. My friend and I are still friends and she's a police detective of all things. Life is so crazy sometimes.)