Laine can’t quite believe that Leah Green, her one time best friend, is dead. But Laine was there when Leah ran off the road and wrapped her black sports car around a tree. And while she feels both guilt and shame, her biggest feeling is relief. Because now she’ll finally be able to come out from under the shadow beautiful, popular Leah has cast over her life since fifth grade. When they were little, Leah used to take Laine into her toy closet to “practice” what they would do with boys when they grew up. Then Leah maliciously used the secret of the closet to blackmail Laine into doing what Leah wanted. Why wouldn’t Leah just leave Laine alone? How could she have been so kind and so brutal at the same time? Laine tries to figure out the reasons behind Leah’s cruel manipulations in the days after her death, and as she explores each “lesson from a dead girl,” she begins to understand Leah was part of a cycle of abuse—a cycle that Laine can now bring to an end. This suspenseful, disturbing debut will help older teen readers understand that abusers are victims, too. If you enjoy the emotional, gritty work of E.R. Frank or Ellen Hopkins, you’re gonna love Jo Knowles.
Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles