Bend by Nancy J. Hedin
This story takes place in a small farming community, Bend, in central Minnesota (a fictional town). The main character is a teenage lesbian who feels unwelcomed and eager to leave Bend as soon as possible. Her goal is to go to college, become a veterinarian, and perplexingly, to return to Bend to practice her medicine there. She is unhappy in Bend and feels ostracized for being a lesbian, though she is not openly gay. So why she wants to return to Bend is a mystery to me.
She has a twin sister who is "perfect." The twins are competing for a large college scholarship funded by a local very conservatively religious man. That does not go well, nor do many other plot twists in the story. In the beginning the characters seem far too stereotypical.. the mother is a nag and very bitter. The father is a quiet, patient farmer. The twins are constantly bickering and appear to hate each other.
Despite these problems, the story kept me interested, and I read the book in a day. Some of the characters actually grow and evolve out of their stereotypes. But for more disappointment, some of the plot twists and turns seem a bit far fetched, as if the author had a world of social issues that had to be crammed into one book. And the main character recovers very quickly from a traumatic event and boom! she moves on.
I feel that the story should have been more focused, and the other myriad social issues the author wanted to touch on put on hold to put into a second book. Despite my seemingly negative review, I liked the writing style overall and feel that the author has some talent to hone in future writing endeavors.