I picked up BLACK TUESDAY, not realizing that it was young adult fiction. However, I read it anyway and would highly recommend it for teenage girls and their mothers to read and discuss. In a well-crafted way, Susan Colebank hit several teen issues on the head with great insight.
Jayne Thompson is a 16-year-old girl on the academic fast-track to Harvard and about to be the first junior named captain of the tennis team. She has a too-calm dad, a very self-absorbed/well-known local celebrity mother, and a 14-year-old sister, Ellie, who is on the fast-track to substance abuse and teen pregnancy. Jayne has been too focused on her honors classes, tennis, and being a substitute mom for Ellie to be concerned about boys or making friends. Unfortunately, she lost her focus on a Tuesday while driving to tennis practice and piled into an intersection on a red light, causing the brain death of a young girl.
The rest of the book deals with Jayne’s slide into guilt, bad grades, loss of focus on Ellie, taking up with a jerk, and being the brunt of cruel revenge. Though convicted of vehicular manslaughter, she was sentenced only to suspension of her driver’s license until age 18, doing one thousand hours of community service, and seeing a therapist. Eventually, Jayne gets her life back in order with some positive changes.