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Inside Out Girl [Paperback]

Tish Cohen
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 11 2008

Rachel’s life is anything but calm. She’s a single mother of two and publisher of a sinking parenting magazine left to her by her father. Although she tries to be easygoing, she’s all too aware of the statistical dangers lurking around every corner: Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death in children between the ages of one and 21. So it is out of character (to say the least) when she pulls over on the side of a busy highway to help a man and his quirky daughter change a tire.
    The daughter, Olivia, has an NLD (non-verbal learning disorder) and is known to Rachel’s children as the most made-fun-of student at school. Her nickname is the “inside out girl” since she often shows up to class with her clothes on wrong. It is to the great dismay of Rachel’s children that their mother begins dating the inside out girl’s widowed father, Len. When Rachel finds herself falling in love with him, she realizes she has to reassess her notions of the ideal family. But it’s not until Len learns of a sudden illness that will alter his future that Rachel begins to change as well. She finds herself revisiting a mystery from her past and learning to love and respect every aspect of her children’s lives—including her daughter’s crush on the girl next door.
    As she did in her hit debut novel, Town House, Tish Cohen perfectly captures the idiosyncrasies and charms that make up our lives, bringing us flawed characters that are nevertheless memorable, lovable and endearing.

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Inside Out Girl + Town House
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Cohen throws every imaginable obstacle at her protagonists in this thoughtful but overly dramatic tale of two single parents turned lovers. Rachel Berman, the divorced publisher of Perfect Parent magazine, is striving to be just that to her two children, rebellious teen Janie and 12-year-old Dustin. Len Bean, a widowed lawyer, meanwhile, tries to manage his daughter Olivia's learning disorder, a condition that causes her to repeatedly talk about rodents and dress inappropriately. When Rachel and Len serendipitously meet, they hit it off. Soon their lives and those of their children become intertwined, much to Janie and Dustin's dismay. As tension builds for the children, a secret from Rachel's past comes to the forefront, and Len receives bad news at the doctor's office. Regret, rejection and worry abound as the plot touches on the standard societal/familial issues (divorce, teenage sexuality, adoption), and Rachel fights to create her own legacy at work. Cohen's language is pleasant and the characters relatable, but the plot is so obvious that the narrative feels like a quirky soap opera. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


?Inside Out Girl had me from the very first page. Each character is richly drawn and the story poignant and tender. Olivia is a memorable character who will stay in my heart for a long, long time.? (Patricia Wood, bestselling author of Orange Prize-shortlisted Lottery)

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Customer Reviews

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read Sept. 3 2008
By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Inside Out Girl was just released last month by Harper Collins Canada and is on my 'You've got to read this one!' list.

Rachel is a single mother of two who obsesses over accident reports, parenting tips and ensuring her children are safe.It is out of character for her to pull over and help a man and his daughter change their flat tire. Len is the widowed father of Olivia. Surprising herself further, Rachel agrees to a date with Len. As they continue to date, Rachel's children are horrified to find out that Len's daughter Olivia is the ' Inside Out Girl" who attends their school. Olivia has non verbal learning disorder. Although very bright, she is unable to process facial and voice cues, resulting in socially inappropriate behaviour and anxiety. She often chooses to wear her clothes inside out, thus the name. She is extremely well informed about rats, frequently quoting rat facts in times of stress.

As she falls in love with Len, Rachel is forced to face some issues from her own past. Her children are also going through difficulties that she is unaware of. Could this relationship really work?

Cohen's writing is so real. I found myself furious at the bullying of Olivia, nodding in sympathy with Rachel's angst and applauding the parenting of Len.

Cohen has done a remarkable job with all the characters - they truly come to life - especially Olivia, who will make you laugh, make you cry and cheer for the little girl who can teach us all a thing or two - and not just about rats.

This would be a great read for a book club.

Tish Cohen is also one of the founding members of the grog I've mentioned before - The Debutante Ball. She also writes her own blog. I'm off to find a copy of Town House - Cohen's first novel for adults, which has been optioned for a movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too Oct. 10 2008
Olivia Bean is an odd duck. She is ten years old, wears mismatched clothes sometimes inside out, never brushes her hair, and always talks about rats. She has NLV, which is Nonverbal Learning Disorder. It is a neurological condition that can prevent a person from understanding anything that is not verbal. They will comprehend your words but will not get subtext and can never understand sarcasm.

Len, her father, has been raising Olivia on his own ever since his wife died. It is a very hard life. Then in walks Rachel Berman and her two children, Jamie and Dustin. Jamie and Dustin go to the same school as Olivia and they don't openly tease her - but they wouldn't be caught dead in the same room with her.

As Rachel and Len's relationship becomes deeper, secrets held by all come apparent and empathy comes alive.

I really enjoyed this book. I am a teacher and I like trying to understand many types of learning disorders. My school is dealing with autistic children now more than ever, and since this is one form of autism it is good to understand it.

I feel that young people should read books like this to understand about those "weird" children that attend their schools and realize that they have feelings and can't help what they do. This story also spoke about bullies. Olivia is bullied and doesn't understand why. She isn't mean and wants friends but the other girls are cruel.

INSIDE OUT GIRL is a wonderful story that sends a good message about how we treat others.

Reviewed by: Marta Morrison
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well-written and Touching Novel Oct. 3 2008
Rachel is an uptight single mother of Janie and Dustin, who is trying to save her family's parenting magazine from going under. Len is a widowed father, who is trying his best to raise his daughter in spite of her non-verbal learning disorder, which prevents her from finding meaning in people's body language. Due to Olivia's inability to understand social cues, she always wears her mismatched clothes inside out and is consequently deemed `inside out girl' by her schoolmates.

Throughout the novel, readers get an intimate glimpse into the thoughts and lives of Rachel, Janie, Len and Olivia. My only criticism is that Rachel's son, Dustin, and her mother, Piper, were always involved in the plot and yet never get the proper attention by the narrative that I would have liked to see. The reader does not get the chance to hear their perspectives on the events that transpire, which could have made for a more complete story.

What I really enjoyed about the book was its fresh approach to childhood disorders. Cohen was always sensitive with her description of non-verbal learning disorder and took care to inform readers, while also showing the difficulties and worries that often arise for affected children and their parents. I was incredibly moved by Cohen's portrayal of Olivia, which I believe effectively conveys her true talents as a writer and a storyteller.

While there were instances when the fine line between heartwarming and cliché was blurred, the characters were still able to evoke genuine emotion out of me. I felt most connected to Olivia and I found myself wishing she was real just so I could give her a big hug! The bullying that she endured really angered me and the touching things she said never failed to elicit a smile or a tear.
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