Bandy's Restola
by Kimberly White
Purple Couchworks

"I was the girl whose brother was dead."

Attempting to recover from her brother's death and abandonment by her parents (father into a bottle, mother behind bedroom door), 16-year-old Pattie Monk faces a new identity as sister of a dead man. Adding to the tumultuous time, Aunt Lulu storms in to exert control. Best friend, Elvia, can't make things right; the misguided Pattie boards a bus for LA.

In LA, flirty men, overhearing sex in the ladies bathroom, and a night on a bench lead her to swallow her pride and return home to Wattlesburg in California's Central Valley. Permanently ditching school, Pattie takes a job in the Restola, the big rest stop outside town.

The job offers both needed routine and an escape from her dysfunctional family. From behind the burger counter one night, she encounters tired-looking truck driver Duane Baty. Pattie feels he needs her protection. But she doesn't accept his offer of a long-haul ride.

When he returns, Pattie feels a mixture of revulsion and attraction. For a while she is willing to help when asked. However, his sudden offer of marriage is weird, and saying no to his cries for help becomes easier. In spite of everything Pattie faces, the unanswered question still seems to be: What happened here? And why?

Kimberly White shows understanding of the complexities of teens in her creation of the world of Pattie Monk. This coming-of-age saga with its out-of-touch cast of characters is both touching and disturbing. Hopefully, White will delve into the depths of life again soon.

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