Gabby Weiss is stuck with a annoying older brother and a no friends at school, but worst of all, she has no mother, so she must spend her time observing women to figure out all the secrets that a mother tells their daughters to make them ready for the real world. But over a year, Gabby makes a special friend, nearly gains (and then loses) a step-mother, and learns that the secrets of adulthood cannot be neatly placed on a list.
An absolutely stunning and beautiful book. To begin with, the story itself is delightful (albeit with some of the typical cliches of YA novels), the writing is strong and poetic (with plenty of insights and observations), and the characters are interesting and even fun. Partly, I suppose, it is nice to read a book that takes place in a familiar setting (New Paltz NY), but the characters are truly interesting and real.
Maybe not one of my all-time favorites, but a stellar read nonetheless.