It is unusual for me to ponder a storyline once outside the bound pages of a book; however, this is what occurred after I read Rehab Girl by P. M. Grates. Although the female protagonist, Alyssa Daingerfield, is introduced as a thirteen-year-old, readers immediately sense her advanced maturity and intellect that challenges adults as well as her peers. With her subtle beauty, powerful mind, and obvious intelligence, she is unafraid to go after what she wants or impulsively run away from what she doesn't want. One time when she ran away, she was nearly raped by a stranger, but using only her words and perceptive insight, she was able to talk her way out of that dangerous situation.
Alyssa had a happy home life living with her grandparents in Monterey Park, California; she got along with them wonderfully, especially with her Grandpa Jack who seemed to understand her better than anyone else, including her mother Daisy who was young, beautiful and often appeared far less mature than her daughter. Her mother had never been without a man for long, moving Alyssa from home to home but ultimately the two would return to the only stable home Alyssa ever had-that of her grandparents. When Daisy became involved with a new man named Franken whom she planned to marry, she was determined that her daughter would live with them which would require a move to Rosemead, California. This arrangement simply couldn't work since mother and daughter did not want the same things out of life. Besides that, there was the out-of-control drinking by Daisy and Franken that the young girl had to contend with. Alyssa loved Daisy-and later on their relationship would improve-but she wanted the security and love her grandparents gave her. Then there was her friend Dylan, a neighborhood boy, whom she would often visit during the day; the two of them would play board games or watch movies together. Alyssa and Dylan would remain close friends throughout the years. Other times she would be on the street, where she felt a sense of belonging. For some reason Alyssa was drawn to the homeless, using her special energizing abilities to reach out to them. Her inner spirit connected with theirs. Alyssa wanted to help and to heal those in need. Was this to be her vocation-her purpose in life? Was being a rehab girl truly what she wanted?
As the storyline progresses with Alyssa pursuing her education and goals, she has many friends-both male and female-who play important roles in her life. They are from all walks of life. I found these characters to be fascinating because of their unique personalities and the conversations that are exchanged-some of them very philosophical. I often felt as though I, along with Alyssa, had become a participant, listening and learning from the ideas, reasoning, beliefs, and thoughts of those who crossed paths with this perceptive woman. I felt the power of her mind as she achieved monetary and personal success, regardless of the social challenges she had faced along the way. Her friends and family, including her own father whom she finally had a relationship with, all helped her with a business venture that met and probably exceeded expectations. Readers will wonder if she has lost her way as the materialistic and worldly pleasures seem to overpower her spiritual nature and healing abilities. There are men in her life, but none impact her as much as Trevor Granderson. They fall in love, passionately in love, and at first, it seemed they would be together forever; however, it has been said that there is a thin line between love and hate-and soon Trevor seemed to cross over that line, allowing greed, jealously, and selfishness affect their relationship.
Alyssa realizes at one point that she had temporarily forsaken her life's mission, and so does something totally unexpected and unselfish, though some would question the motive, wisdom, and sanity of such behavior. As far as she and Trevor, can their relationship be healed? Could there be another true love in her life? Purchase this book and discover the answers to these questions and be prepared for a mesmerizing reading experience. The book is well-written by an author with exceptional talent for bringing a storyline to life. It is without reservation that Rehab Girl carries my highest recommendation.