Young Adult Contemporary
My track record with this author's books is that I read them in one day. Start to finish, one day, and I cannot put them down.
Elise's story is a sad one. She is an outcast, always on the edges looking in. She is precocious, unwilling to conform, and thus ostracized at school. Even when she spends the summer watching all the reality TV and teen movies everyone else does, and goes to the mall and buys a whole new wardrobe, she is rewarded with bottom-feeder status after taking a chance meeting new friends.
So she tries to kill herself. This is early in the book and is essentially backstory, so not a full spoiler here. This story details the aftermath of her attempt and the new life Elise finds when she walks the neighborhood at night and stumbles onto a warehouse district with a secret dance club. College kids, DJs, the music nightlife are so unlike the petty hierarchy of high school, she thinks she has a chance.
Elise makes a lot of mistakes with her friendships and within her family. Partly her decisions come from her personality, but many of them are shaped but that insistent need to belong, whether she projects it outward or not. Even outcasts who are proud of being different still crave that need to have someone understand them. Elise wants to protect her new interests and friends, even if the cost is hurting people she cares about. This book takes a little bit more mature look at the high school popularity thing and doesn't quite go where you expect in a lot of ways. Parents with layers help, and a complicated family situation that brings out a lot of endearing qualities in Elise. Overall, a great, solid read.