Silver by Norma Fox Mazer.
What I remember from reading this book as a kid/teen is that it is about Sarabeth Silver, a 13-ish year old who lives in a trailer park with her mother who is a house cleaner. Sarabeth gets redistricted into the rich kids school, and becomes friends with a group of rich girls. One of the rich girls confides in Sarabeth that her uncle (the girl’s, not Sarabeth’s) has been molesting her.
On re-reading, I realize now the reason that my memory is correct and I realize that this is a book that actually is a good read for an adult. Soo…it’s going to be difficult to snark this, but I’ll try my best 🙂
Silver is told in the point of view of Sarabeth Silver, a 13 year old girl. She is a resident of Roadview Trailer Park, where she lives with her widowed mother. Her mom had her at 16, which makes Mrs. Silver only 29 years old. Two years younger than I am right now….creeeeepy. Anyway, Mrs. Silver discovers that three trailers in the trailer park actually fall into a different school district than the rest of the trailer park. When one of the residents of trailer #2 moves out, Mrs. Silver moves herself and Sarabeth into that trailer so Sarabeth can attend one of the best schools in the state.
Sarabeth begins school and immediately is drawn to a girl in her homeroom named Grant Varrow. She doesn’t know how to approach her, and kind of gets some stalker-y feelings, but thankfully doesn’t act one them. (That would be a WHOLE ‘nother book!). We also meet some other players in Sarabeth’s life. Leo is her mom’s boyfriend, who is five years younger than her mom (Making him a 24 year old dating a woman with a 13 year old…..creeeeepy!). And Cynthia, her mom’s best friend who is a lounge singer.
Sarabeth, under encouragement from her mom and Leo, decides to go to a school dance, even though she hasn’t really made any friends yet. There, she meets Mark Emelsky who goes to a nearby private school. He’s wearing a Save the Whales T-shirt and spends his time lecturing Sarabeth on the environment and animal rights. He’s like a little adolescent male Ingrid Newkirk in the making. Nonetheless, Sarabeth is smitten.
Sarabeth and Grant become friends, and Grant includes her in with the rest of the friends. These other friends are the smart Asa Goronkian, the athletic Jen Rosen and the standoffish beauty Patty Lewis. We learn that Grant is rich rich RICH! But she’s not thrilled by it because it’s her stepdad’s money. Grant invites Sarabeth to come to their pajama party, which is at Patty’s house. Meanwhile, Sarabeth receives some calls from Mark . She draws a face on a pillow, dubbing him Mark The Pillow and practices kissing him. Then she inadvertently tells Patty and Jennifer during gym class that Mark kissed her. She is too embarrassed by her lie to tell the truth.
We get to slumber party time! It’s at Patty’s house. Patty and her mom live with their uncle (the mom’s brother) after Patty’s parent’s get divorced. The girls have a good time. They drink fake champagne, which Sarabeth didn’t know was fake and she thought she was getting drunk. That was a pretty funny scene. Also, Sarabeth fesses up about Mark The Pillow and her not so real kiss. There’s another pretty funny scene with the girls make Sarabeth draw on another pillow and they dub him Art The Pillow. At one point in the night, Patty becomes extremely moody and yells at her uncle. But he seems like such a nice fellow! The next morning, Sarabeth is the last one left with Patty at her house after all the other girls have left. She and Patty kind of bond, and Patty let’s loose with the fact that she has a deep dark secret. Sarabeth says anytime Patty needs to talk, she’s there. Patty says she’ll remember that.
Fast forward a few days and Grant and Sarabeth are going to watch a flute concert (Grant is a flautist) at the local college. Patty surprisingly shows up. During intermission, Sarabeth and Patty are in the ladies room and Patty starts bawling. She really opens up to Sarabeth that her uncle has been molesting her. We don’t get details (good for a book for kids this age) but we GET it, you know? Patty says her mom doesn’t believe her, and thinks she is all disturbed from her parent’s divorce. Sarabeth doesn’t know what to do. They tell Grant. No one knows how to help Patty.
The next day, Sarabeth has a ‘date’ with Mark. They go to watch his younger sister play basketball. Sarabeth gets a little jealous when Mark flirts with a girl with a big rack and white eyebrows (dubbed cleverly, Angel Eyebrows.) Sarabeth is worried about Patty. The next day in school, Patty has a minor breakdown so she and Sarabeth skip and go back to the trailer. Sarabeth offers Patty a place to stay. Patty had evidently tried to tell her mom again about her uncle and her mom is completely deaf to it. Patty wants to run away.
When Sarabeth’s mom gets home, she makes them tell her why Patty is there. She believes Patty and calls her mom. Patty’s mom comes over and tries to make Patty come home. Patty jumps out the window and breaks her foot. I guess that is the tipping point where Patty’s mom believes her.
Patty continues to live with Sarabeth and her mom in the trailer for about a month, while Patty’s mom finds a job (she has to drop out of college) and a cheap 2 BR apartment. Sarabeth andPatty don’t always get along living together, but Patty refuses Grant’s offer to have her own room and stay with her a while. Patty, we lean acts awfully standoffish, but Sarabeth can see the hurt under the facade.
Eventually, Patty moves back in with her mom, and things kind of return to normal. Asa tells her father (who is a judge and was friends with Patty’s uncle) about Patty’s uncle abusing her. Asa couldn’t stand that Patty wouldn’t turn him in. Asa, being a judge’s daughter is (rightly) concerned about Patty’s uncle paying for his crime. Anyway, Asa tells her dad and an investigation is opened. I guess Patty eventually cooperates with the investigation because charges are pressed.
At the end of the book, the girls are at the mall and spy Mark with old Angel Eyebrows. The girls are pissed on Sarabeth’s behalf because Mark just kind of lead her on. It ends with the girls running after Mark to do god knows what to him.