As she begins a very tough last semester of high school, Holland finds herself puzzled about her future and intrigued by a transfer student who wants to start a lesbigay club at school.
When popular high school senior Holland discovers that "the man of her dreams is a girl," she faces homophobia at school and, most painfully, at home. Peters (Define "Normal") raises important points about the ramifications of coming out, but covers so much territory that her plotting suffers. Holland is juggling a tough school schedule, responsibilities as student council president, college applications, a serious boyfriend and a meddling mom when open lesbian Cece transfers to her school. The instant spark between them leads to flirtation, then to an intense relationship. Holland is thankful she "risked change" despite the serious consequences: not only does her mother throw her out of the house, but Cece is keeping something from her. Holland's adjustment to her new sexuality after she first kisses Cece seems too sudden, and while Peters foreshadows her mother's intolerance in some ways (she throws out a T-shirt belonging to Holland's goth stepsister, Faith), her reaction when Holland confesses comes across as extreme. Secondary story lines, such as Holland's abrupt discovery of her artistic ability, and her budding friendship with Faith, whom she originally judged harshly, feel contrived. Readers will appreciate Holland's new ability to live free of others' expectations-and they may learn a great deal about the spectrum of reactions a teen can face in coming out-but the messages here seem to take precedence over plot. Ages 14-up. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.