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Inferno
By author: Robin Stevenson
Selling Points: Sexuality, activism, domestic violence
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Apr/01/2009
Pages: 240
Fiction Ages 12+
Price:  $12.95
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Sitting at my desk is torture. I wonder what circle of hell this is and what I did to deserve it. Mr. Lawson drones on and on. I have restless legs. My knee bounces up and down like crazy, like there's too much energy inside me and stray sparks are shooting off everywhere, twitching my muscles. I feel bored and restless and impatient. I want something to happen.

Dante thinks high school is an earthly version of hell. She hates her new home in the suburbs, her best friend has moved away, her homeroom teacher mocks her and her mother is making her attend a social skills group for teenage girls. When a stranger shows up at school and hands Dante a flyer that reads: Woof, woof. You are not a dog. Why are you going to obedience school?, Dante thinks she's found a soul mate. Someone who understands. Someone else who wants to make real changes in the world. But there are all kinds of ways of bringing about change...and some are more dangerous than others.
What If? Magazine - December 1, 2009
"The clear and thoughtful discussions between characters make the plot meaningful and intriguing...A fantastic read for teenagers or adults. Inferno is an inspiring book that motivates readers to stand up for what they believe in, take risks, and dream big."
Southwestern Ohio Young Adult Materials Review Group - July 19, 2009
"Teens will identify with the plot which is full of rebellion and reaction to the "Life is not fair!" mantra that the characters convey through actions and events."
Quill & Quire - July 1, 2009
"Stevenson's writing is sharp and her plot tidy and briskly paced, making for a quick, engaging read. Even her integration of the tough themes of relationship abuse and the alienation of queer teens is seamless—not to mention free of heavy-handed lessons."
Booklist - June 1, 2009
"Stevenson creates a compelling portrait of autonomy vs. conformity...Dante's sexuality is refreshingly not a problem, just a fact of life. Readers will recognize themselves and many of their peers in Stevenson's complex, likeable characters."
Resource Links - June 1, 2009
"An exceptional book that captures the angst and ennui of the teenager that just does not fit well into any group...A well written novel that had me gripped to the final page. Highly recommended."
January Magazine - April 26, 2009
"[Stevenson] does a terrific job, capturing the impossibly large emotion and the power that propels teenage girls...This is skillful writing featuring a strong female protagonist. A good story well told."
Elisabeth Abarbanel, Librarian, Los Angeles - April 8, 2009
"If you are a librarian serving teenagers, you should have this book in your collection. It seems so many good books about gay themes are about boys—this has a wonderful female lead. Dante is strong, smart, and has integrity."

Awards

Resource Links "The Year's Best", commended  CA  2009
BC Book Prize - Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize nominee, short-listed  CA  2010
Rainbow List , commended  US  2010

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