Author: Michele Ashamn Bell
Published: March 2010 by Vaylor Publishing Group
Source: copy sent by Author
Description: Kenzie Williams feels like she has it all; wealth, friends, popularity and talent. But when her father tells her that he has declared bankruptcy, her whole world in New York City turns upside down. Her parents' solution while they sort through their financial and marital problems is to send Kenzie to live with her relatives in Paris...Idaho! Feeling like she's been sentenced to three months in Hickville Prison, Kenzie arrives in Idaho feeling like a square peg with name brand clothes, in a round, horribly podunk, hole. Leaving everything she loves behind, Kenzie is forced to get up at the crack of dawn, do chores, and hang out with her cousin's loser friends. She feels like she's about to die until she meets Adam White, the town outcast, who's been accused of killing his best friend and is being blamed for some trouble that's been happening around town. Not only is Adam the best-looking guy she's ever seen, but he's also the most fascinating guy she's ever met and Kenzie is determined to get to know him and find out his secret. But, the longer she stays in Paris, the more she realizes, Adam isn't the only one keeping secrets.
I Give This ...
I'm probably one of the few people who have read this book who actually knows were Paris, Idaho is. And probably part of an even smaller group who has actually been there. In fact, the tabernacle that is briefly mentioned in this book stands right next to a huge bronze bust of my great-great-great grandfather, so needless to say I might be a bit biased. I thought the setting was perfect for this story. You can't get much more small town and remote than that. I think it gives a good feel for how out of place someone from a big city can be. It's also extremely accurate for the area. I dislike reading about real places and having the details wrong (notice I said wrong, because I really don't care if something is made up).
The characters are wonderful for the most part. Kenzie actually got on my nerves a little. For someone being from New York, she's seemed really goody two-shoes. But, since the teens from small town seem to be the opposite, it's almost like the author decided to switch the stereotypes. I really loved Kenzie's Aunt and Uncle. They were total opposites from the types of parents you see in typical YA fiction. They actually knew what was going on with their kids (for the most part), punished them for their actions, and gave a real sense of family. I also like how the made sure Kenzie knew that she couldn't get away with the same thing she did when she live in New York.
The story itself is a very clean for YA. It's more about Kenzie learning what's important. Turns out she finds exactly what she's looking for in the small town. She also helps her parents see what's important. I also like how the story felt very appropriate to the area (if that makes sense). Southern Idaho is very steeped in the Morman religion. I think the story fits right into that. It's about fitting in as an outsider, standing up for what you believe in right, and not following the crowd.