Volunteering at the library is a great “pay off”. Shelving in the teen section, brought me face to face with an interesting young adult novel, My Life As A Rhombus by Varian Johnson. This is the story of an unlikely friendship that develops between conscientious Rhonda Lee and the beautiful and popular cheerleader Sarah Gamble. Rhonda Lee is a math whiz who is working hard to get a scholarship to Georgia Tech. She abides by the unspoken and timeless high school cultural and social rules that prevent her from being friends with someone like privileged Sarah Gamble. When Rhonda grudgingly agrees to tutor Sarah in trigonometry, Rhonda quickly picks up on the signs of Sarah’s pregnancy, signs she knows all too well. I love the way he weaves in math concepts to illustrate certain aspects of Rhonda’s life, the title being one example. Another one from page 1:
Questions They Never Ask on the SAT
A very smart, attention-starved freshman (subject X) falls for the most popular guy in her class (subject Y). If X and Y date for at least three months, which of the following extra-curricular activities is X most like to be involved in?
A: Backseat anatomy lessons, clothing optional.
B: Accuracy and precision experiments involving peeing onto a little plastic stick.
C: Two-hour biology lectures from a very disappointed father.
D: Field trips across state lines for “routine” medical procedures.
E: Proving the statistical fallacy of the statement, “It can never happen to me.”
Note: More than one answer may apply.
Varian Johnson masterfully captures the teenage voice and grapples with the hot button issues of teenage sex, pregnancy, and abortion in a realistic way. This is a great book for parents and their tween to teenage kids (boys and girls) to read together followed by a frank discussion on these issues.