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Reviewed by Karen Walpole for Readers' Favorite
To say that Stephanie is an out-of-control teen is a profound understatement. In spite of an extraordinary gift for music, her internal demons turn her to drugs and violence. In Stephanie: One. Life. Lived. by Melissa Service, Stephanie’s family tries desperately to help her, but their daughter’s behavior is beyond their understanding. Hospital stays and rehabilitation programs and therapists don’t help, and each time Stephanie returns home, she is more violent and uncontrollable than ever. She returns to her druggy friends and is volatile, throwing and breaking anything around her at home, and attacking anyone handy whenever her parents try to set or enforce limits for her. Someone suggests a different, more spiritual, solution and Stephanie’s parents, desperate for answers, decide to try that approach. The book is the story of this last chance attempt to save their daughter and about what events stem from it.
I love how the story is set up in the prologue and comes full circle at the end. I also like how the story’s speaker changes from chapter to chapter. One chapter is written from Stephanie’s point of view and then the next, her mother’s. The family’s love for Stephanie and perseverance in finding a way to help her is inspirational. I also find the integration of how music is inspired by life with how music inspires listeners wonderful. It is obvious that the author has an understanding of the spiritual nature of the composition process and the passions of musicians. The symbols, like the men with tattoos and men with canes, that show up at different points in the story, are inventive. The messages conveyed by Melissa Service’s book, Stephanie, are important ones for today’s teens and their parents.