The View from the Top
2010; Dutton Books (Penguin); ISBN 978-0-525-42241-9 (hardcover)
Summary: Graduation is in the past and college is in the future. Now is summer: the last summer Annabelle will spend in Normal, Maine. She expects to use the summer to spend time with her boyfriend Matt and with her friends. Instead, Annabelle will break up with Matt, consider a relationship with Matt's best friend Jonah, and form new friendships. In a series of interconnected short stories, Annabelle and the people in her life will reassess just what they know about her, culminating in Annabelle's ride on the Ferris wheel at the local amusement park. Who has the truest perspective on Annabelle: her friends or herself?
One story is told from multiple perspectives as one girl experiences a summer of transition. The short stories, overlapping to form this novel, feature a cast of thoughtful, observant teens. Some stories resonate more, like Lexi's: the sister of Matt, she has a crush on Annabelle and wonders if she, Lexi, is the only lesbian in Normal. Matt's heartbreak over Annabelle ending their relationship is mitigated with his knowledge of how this pain will aid his writing and art. And Annabelle herself, who has the opening and closing stories, progresses in unexpected ways over the course of the summer. Fans of Deb Caletti and Elizabeth Scott are bound to enjoy Hilary Frank's introspective novel-in-stories.