Plain Jane by Schledia Benefield
Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 2011 by Xlibris Corporation
Read June 2011
I knew from the preface that this would be an emotional story. What I wasn't expecting was to be catapulted back to my childhood. In many ways, I could have been Aralyn and I saw what life could have been had I made a few different choices growing up. The first few chapters had me both shedding tears at the loneliness Aralyn felt and smiling at the memories of being a child of the 80s (big hair, fluorescent clothing, and multiple watches).
Schledia Benefield writes a powerful story that many teenagers would identify with. Once you start reading you'll find yourself swept up into the emotional undertow that is the life of Aralyn (aka Plain Jane). Several times I would find myself picking up the book thinking I would spend only a few minutes reading a couple of pages, maybe a chapter, but then hours later realize I had blown through many chapters. This is due to both the compelling story and the easy flow of words on the page.
I believe every teenager and anyone who has teenagers, works with teenagers, knows a teenager should read this book. It is a realistic look into the mind of teenagers. Many times when I read stories of tragic teens there is a sense that too much has occurred (you know, "can't the character catch a break" runs through your mind), but not with Plain Jane. Just like in any person's life there are highs and lows and we get to experience both with this story.
Plain Jane is the best piece of realistic teen drama I have read in a long time. The plot is spot on; you would think that you are reading a real person's biography. The writing is superb. Like I said, the words flow nicely and the chapters transition seamlessly to the point you don't always realize you finished one chapter and started the next.
You really should read this book and now would be a great time to buy it. For the rest of the year, 25% of profits from Plain Jane will be donated to the Yellow Ribbon Foundation, a suicide prevention program. You'll want to have a Kleenex or two handy when you embark on this journey, but you don't want to miss out on this powerful, emotional novel.
I'm excited to announce that Schledia Benefield will be on my blog on Friday with a guest post about what inspired her to write Plain Jane.
I received Plain Jane free from the author. The above review is my honest opinion and was not influenced by the receipt of a free book.