Inside Out Girl

Author: Tish Cohen
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Genre: Literary fiction
ISBN: 978-0-06-145295-6
Pages: 317
Price: $13.95

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Rachel Berman has inherited her parents’ magazine, Perfect Parent, and tries to live up to its ideal. But even as she struggles with the idea of publishing articles about special-needs children, Olivia Bean shows up in her life. Olivia’s father, Len, has done the best he could in raising his daughter alone, and still struggles with her Non-Verbal Learning Disorder.

Rachel’s kids can’t believe their mother is dating the father of the weirdest kid in school, the one they call Inside Out Girl. But as this makeshift family gets to know each other, everyone finally comes to realize how special Olivia really is.

When Len faces a personal crisis, he turns to Rachel to be there for his daughter, and Rachel doesn’t disappoint him. And in the process she finally faces a skeleton that’s been haunting her from her own past

Tish Cohen has created a real and believable cast of characters. Heartbreakingly pathetic at times, Olivia is stubborn, funny, and hard not to love. Rachel’s kids, and especially Janie, show tremendous growth and maturity in accepting Olivia into the family. And Rachel learns it’s okay to not always be a perfect parent.

But in the end, it’s Len who will steal your heart as he does everything he can to take care of his daughter, and I couldn’t stop myself from crying as the story came to a close. Tish Cohen handles this sensitive subject masterfully, and I highly recommend this powerfully moving book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger