Estelle: What Happened to Lani Garver by Carol Plum-Ucci

Pages: 336
Target Audience: Young Adult
How I found out about it: Recommended to me by Magan.
Format: Hardcover borrowed from the library.
Summary: Lani’s arrival to small town Hackett Island makes a big splash when no one can figure him (or is it her?) out. Judgment and harassment seems to be their initial reactions but then there is Claire, who has somehow made her way into the popular crowd but decides to befriend Lani anyway. She never thought this would be a life-altering decision.


All I can say is my god, high school is rough and I’m glad to be out of there. Magan warned me in advance that this book was disturbing and I think that’s why it took me a little longer than normal to finish it. But I am so glad that I did.

Lani isn’t into being defined. And Claire may show off a positive outlook on life, but it’s as fake as the smiles in her pictures. They are an unlikely pair, and even though their friendship is short-lived, it’s like they have known each other for years.

Claire is dealing with an alcoholic mother, the possibility of having a cancer relapse, starving herself, and a somewhat absent father. Her “friends” are just not the kind you confide it. Instead they are the ones who play “chicken” and get her into dangerous pickles. Her friendship with Lani puts her reputation on the line, and Lani can’t stand clear of multiple forms of harassment.

While this book is difficult to read, Claire’s character development is worth it. Lani teaches her that life gets worse before it gets better, and the strength that Claire finds is truly remarkable. Lani teaches her volumes about herself, actually.

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