"White Chalk" tells the story of Chelle Whitney, a 13-year-old girl in 8th grade at Northwoods Secondary School. Her father is a drunk who is abusive to her mother, while her mother is so busy working to support them, that she has no time for Chelle. Enter Troy Christiansen, the new boy in school, a junior complete with Mohawk and piercings. Chelle falls "instantly and obsessively in love" with him, a love that will have serious repercussions for Chelle and all of those around her.
Chelle is a Lolita-like character, in an inappropriate relationship with her History teacher. This similarity is further reinforced by the cover image depicting a young girl with a lollipop (compare to Lolita movie poster). But is Chelle as innocent as she seems? And who is seducing whom? What has happened to Chelle to fill her with insecurities and to cause her self-harm and suicidal thoughts? She feels out-of-control, but her self-harm is something she can control. When pain equals pleasure, even the acts which we find abhorrent bring happiness to Chelle. The author provides a handy list of resources for people who may be in a similar situation to Chelle, including where to get help for suicide prevention and cutting.
This book is about a young girl whose desperate need to be loved and wanted leads her to make bad choices. It is a book about teenagers, but its content is suitable for mature people only. It contains coarse language, pedophilia, sexual acts, drug and alcohol abuse, spousal abuse, suicide, and self-harm. As the mother of a fourteen-year-old girl myself, I can only hope that what goes on in this book is not commonplace. That being said, I absolutely loved this book. It reminded me a grittier Sarah Dessen. It was a pleasure to read, with beautiful lyrical passages. I'm a big fan and will read anything else this talented writer publishes.