Harmless

Harmless

by Dana Reinhardt

There was a man. He had a knife. He attacked us down by the river.It was just a harm little lie.Anna, Emma and Mariah concoct a story about why they're late getting home one nighta story that will replace their parents' anger with concern. They just have to stand by it. No matter what. Suddenly the police are involved, and the town demands that someone be punished. And then there is the man who is arrested and accused of a crime that never happened.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Young Adult
  • Rating: 3.42
  • Pages: 240
  • Publish Date: February 13th 2007 by Wendy Lamb Books
  • Isbn10: 0385746997
  • Isbn13: 9780385746991

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"going big" will have much more serious consequences, but youth is shortsighted. and now i can bring it back to the free shelves at work, and forget it ever happened. i would have liked a little more closure here, as her circumstances were going to be the most problematic in this aftermath (hide spoiler)

Mariah, Anna, and Emma all come together during their freshman year at ODS. When the girls become friends, Mariah introduced Anna and Emma to his friends. There was alcohol at the party and Emma ended up having sex with one of the boys she just met. They each tell their mothers they are staying at the other girls place for a sleepover and a movie, and then sneak out. The parents make the girls go to the copsone thing builds on top of another, until one of them cracks and must tell the truth to save herself. Reinhardt, who previously wrote A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life has done an excellent job with a timely book about when to tell the truth and when lies hurt. I have a new book coming out sometime next year, probably May or June, called HOW TO BUILD A HOUSE and I'm hard at work on another novel that I'm very excited about.

This book reminded me of the Pretty Little Liars series but on a more mature level.

When a classroom assignment brings Mariah -- a new girl who's rumored to be dating a high school senior from across town -- into their tight circle, Emma and Anna find themselves toeing the edge of their comfort zone (spending time with new boys, staying out in defiance of their curfew) and also discovering new limits in their familiar friendship. :: I really admired how the home/parental lives of each of the main protagonists is developed in a way that illuminates but does not "explain" the actions of each girl. The book does a nice job of developing class distinctions among the girls, both in terms of actual cash and in terms of cultural capital, yet I wondered why there were no people of color in this circle of friends. :: Basically, what I liked about the book is how it was really about the night of the lie -- about how each girl had in some way crossed an invisible line in their own beliefs about themselves in terms of their emerging sexuality -- and how those anxieties inform the journeys that follow the lie as it explodes.

Mariah, Emma, and Anna told a big lie. I was so uncomfortable reading this because I WAS a teenage girl, and I'll soon HAVE a teenage girl. I would encourage my daughter to read this book when she gets older. Not that I ever did something like this, but I don't think something like this couldn't have happened.

I would hope that 15 year old girls wouldn't believe such a story is taken lightly and craft that sort of lie. (Being a teen myself, I wouldn't concoct such a story.) The characters were highly unlikeable, by not only sticking to their lie, but reeling in and enjoying the benefits. At least each characters chapters were relatively short, so you got to take breaks from them.

One night, Mariah, Anna, and Emma are off at an older boy's house, instead of at the movies like they said they would be. But when their parents show up at the movies and can't find them anywhere, they are caught in their lie. So for fear of getting in huge trouble with their parents, the girls concoct a simple story. HARMLESS by Dana Renihardt is the story of how a seemingly small lie can take on a life of its own.

Afraid they'll get in trouble for being very late for curfew, they concoct a story about Emma being attacked, and Anna and Mariah fighting off the attacker. HARMLESS, told in short chapters by the three friends, is a fast paced, compelling story that grabbed hold of me from page one and didn't let go until well after I finished reading. Although the girls are freshmen, older teens will still enjoy HARMLESS.

When the three decide to go to Mariah's boyfriend's house for a party, they have a good time hanging out with a few of the local high school guys.

One day they go out to a party without their parents knowing. I enjoyed this book a lot because it makes you evaluate your own self and to see if there are any lies you have told recently.

I went to law school, which I know doesn't count as a job, but hey, that was a lot of work. What's your writing day like? I like to write in the mornings. I try to write 700 words a day -- about three pages. I know there are lots of writers out there who can write way more than that. I know this because writers like to tell you about how many words they've written on FACEBOOK. So I try not to look at FACEBOOK when I'm writing. And anyway, I've learned that 700 words are about all I'm good for on any given day, and if I write more than that I usually end up getting rid of most of it later. Why do you write young adult fiction? Because I was a young adult when I fell in love with reading and I can remember how books made me feel back then. I was just open to the experience books offered, probably more open than I am now as an adult. And I like writing for that sort of audience. Lots of people have thought long and hard about this question and have had many intelligent things to say about voice and how YA books can't spend too much time on adult characters, etc. How come there aren't any vampires or wizards in your books? Maybe I should write about vampires and wizards.