Shrimp -- Rachel Cohn
Cyd Charisse grew up a lot in this one. A lot a lot. Of course, that doesn't stop her from being all attitudinal:
I was about to say Who are you to be knowing my business when I recognized her--I knew her. She was in my history class last school year at the Ecole Des Spazzed-Out Enfants Terribles, the "alternative" private school at which my mother enrolled me last year after I was kicked out of the fancy boarding school back East. The arty school for popularity-challenged freaks like me turned out to be not so bad, actually, even though I didn't show up at it as often (like, daily) as my mother thought (blame, Shrimp). The school is definitely better than any snooty New England prep school, though--but let's remember it's still a school, which in my opinion is a crap institution that is just a massive conspiracy hazing ritual. Those people who say "High school was the best time of my life" I am (a) very suspicious of and (b) convinced they are full of shit. Lucky for me, I've finally reached senior year, then freedom forever. Nine months to go and I can be set loose upon the world. Watch out, world.
Truly, rants like that are the reason that I love young adult literature.
The story starts almost right after the first book ends, with Cyd back in San Francisco with her family. Of course, she's on the lookout for Shrimp, who broke her heart at the beginning of Gingerbread. But it isn't all Shrimp-Shrimp-Shrimp all the time -- she makes OTHER friends. Shockingly, she makes friends with some (gasp!) girls. She spends less time trying to shock people and more time figuring out who she is and what she wants.
There is a perfectly written scene of Cyd realizing that Shrimp is just another human being. That stuck with me -- it was so real and so genuine. Epiphanies like that are so brief but so important.
It even made me cry at the end, even though the ending was totally right. Know what I mean?