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'GREAT' is not for every teen reader

In the book 'GREAT', Naomi takes a helicopter to meet her mother in NYC.
In the book 'GREAT', Naomi takes a helicopter to meet her mother in NYC.
Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Naomi doesn't like spending summers with her materialistic, self-centered mother in East Hampton. She'd rather stay in Chicago with her father and her best friend, but this summer is starting out better than previous summers. Naomi is making new friends, she has a boyfriend, and she is getting invited to lavish parties thrown by the mysterious blogger who lives next door.

Unfortunately, everything isn't as great as it seems. By the end of the summer, Naomi has had to deal with a number of serious issues most attentive parents try to shield their teenagers from, such as: drugs, alcohol, and drunk driving; physical, verbal, and mental abuse; heterosexual and homosexual love affairs; lies, corruption, and scandals; a tragic accident; and a suicide.

GREAT, written by Sara Benincasa ( and published by HarperTeen, is recommended for readers ages 14 and up. This book, which is Benincasa's first young adult novel, has been named, "One of's 15 Most Exciting YA Books Coming Out This Year!" GREAT is on sale now and is available as an E-Book. It is also available at a St. Paul Public Library. Benincasa's debut novel, AGORAFABULOUS!: Dispatches from My Bedroom, is available at a Ramsey County Library. For more information about HarperTeen books, visit

Julia Parent also writes St. Paul TV Examiner and St. Paul Magazine Examiner articles.