Title: Where People like Us Live
Author: Patricia Cumbie
Price: $19.89 USD HB
Release: June 23rd 2009
Libby is used to moving from state to state following her father's downward spiral of temporary employment. Rubberville contains the usual factories, discouraged neighbors, and hardscrabble life. But this time Libby makes a best friend right away. Angie-brassy and seemingly fearless—looks a lot older than Libby, although they will both be high school freshmen in the fall. There's a lot about Angie to disturb readers, such as the way she forces Libby to stand too close to an oncoming train, but Libby is smitten with her. She does pick up on the creep factor in Angie's stepfather, who is both menacing and flirtatious. When she stumbles on them having oral sex, she is thrown off-kilter. Should she keep silent to protect her friend, which is what Angie asks her to do, or tell and get help? The best-friend-of-the-abused trope has become a fixture of YA literature. What makes this book stand out is not literary quality but the gritty and honest exploration of Libby's confusion about sexuality, coercion, friendship, and power. Honest, too, is the portrayal of Angie, a girl who has had to develop extreme defenses to survive and who is so in need of love that she can't distinguish between nurture and exploitation. Angie is no pitiful victim, thankfully, but rather a tough, damaged girl who has learned to survive.
This book was about as good as I expected. I love books about sexual abuse, not because I like it but because I am fascinated by the human nature that could drive a person to want someone they should be caring for as a parent. This novel discussed this matter but in a tactful manner. There was only one time that was graphic and even then it was necessary for it to be like that. The characters were all well developed and unique. There were no two comparable characters; each person played an important role in the book. The choices that had to be made by Libby were connectable to me. I have never had a friend who I knew was sexually abused but I did have a friend who cut. I had to make the choice Libby made, wither to protect my friend or my friendship. Its not always the easy one to make.
FTC: I received this book from the publisher before December 1st 2009