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The True Meaning of Cleavage    by Mariah Fredericks order for
True Meaning of Cleavage
by Mariah Fredericks
Order:  USA  Can
Pulse, 2004 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Jess and Sari have been best friends for a long time, though they aren't very much alike - Jess is plain, artistic and into sci-fi, and Sari is beautiful and more outgoing. The two girls are about to start ninth grade and they are petrified about what the year will hold. Jess's insecurity is magnified when Sari takes an interest in David Cole, the most popular senior guy and also one-half of the school's adored long-term couple. David doesn't seem to know Sari's alive until she hooks up with him at a Halloween party that Jess decides not to attend. From that point on, Jess and Sari's friendship is never quite the same. Can the two girls survive their freshman year? Will they salvage at least part of their friendship?

The book, told from Jess's first person point of view, takes an interesting look at high school life and what it means to be a friend. We get insight into Jess's worries and problems, and share her self discoveries. The picture of Sari is not as clear, distancing us from her character. Indeed, the lack of detail on Sari's life leaves a bit of a hole in the plot. But the angst of teens, the quest to fit in, and the exhaustion of trying to balance schoolwork and a social life are realistically portrayed. The True Meaning of Cleavage evokes such emotion that for a minute I felt like I was back in high school. The title does not begin to convey what this book is truly about - the cleaving of friends and identity, not chest size.

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