Grade 9 UpJohnson begins this exceptional novel in a lightweight fashion but quickly segues into more serious issues that affect the three young women who make up the Bermudez Triangle. It is the summer before their senior year in Saratoga Springs, NY. At first, organized, serious Nina has trouble adjusting to her leadership workshop at Stanford University. Although she desperately misses Avery and Mel, who are waitresses at a restaurant back home, she quickly falls head over heels for eco-warrior Steve, who has grown up in a commune on the West Coastso different from Nina's secure middle-class experience. When she returns to New York, she immediately senses that Mel and Avery are keeping secrets and soon discovers that they have become lovers. Rocked to the core, Nina wishes them happiness, but feels excluded and lonely, especially as her long-distance relationship begins to deteriorate. As is typical for teens, the girls obsess ad nauseam over their romantic relationships. Yet this narrow focus lends authenticity to the narrative, and readers become drawn into the characters' lives as they stumble toward adulthood, fall in and out of love, enlarge their circle of friends, and rethink their values.
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