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Bad Girls Club    by Judy Gregerson order for
Bad Girls Club
by Judy Gregerson
Order:  USA  Can
Blooming Tree Press, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Judy Gregerson tells a heart-wrenchingly honest tale of a teen growing up with an abusive mother. Not a story for the faint of heart, Bad Girls Club will play your emotions almost to the breaking point.

Destiny should be having fun. It is the summer before her senior year of high school, and she should be getting a job, going to the beach, and just hanging with her best friend and her boyfriend. Instead, she has to spend her time watching her five-year-old sister Cassidy, since her mother wishes the child did not exist. Things get worse after her mom takes her aggression out on someone who is not family and winds up doing a short stint in a mental hospital. When she returns, not only can she no longer care properly for her daughters, she cannot even care for herself. Destiny's father chooses to turn a blind eye to his wife's problems and hide everything to keep the family together. Destiny slowly spirals into her own delusions and it takes a truly horrifying event to snap her out of it.

Child abuse is real, and Gregerson uses Bad Girls Club to get it out in the open. The emotions and problems that Destiny deals with are some of the things experienced by children of abusive parents, and Gregerson does an excellent job of getting the reader to fully empathize with Destiny. Also, Gregerson shows how a pattern of abuse can continue from one generation to the next, but that it is possible to break the cycle. This raw and emotional look at child abuse needs this message of hope.

Bad Girls Club has a message a very strong message that should be heard by everyone who deals with children. Teenager themselves might see something of a friend's life or even their own in Destiny's story. While at times Bad Girls Club is hard to read Judy Gregerson depicts some shocking incidents it needs to be read and openly discussed if child abuse is to be stopped.

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