From People, September 27, 2004
When bad-boy actor Joshua Reed is nabbed for drunk driving, his punishment is 90 days of house arrestin the West Virginia home of the 25-year old president of his fan club, Leanne Gitlin. Starting with this whimsical premise, Mean Season deftly swings between the comedic living situation and some serious undercurrents: "the strange run-ins that can alter everything in the blink of an eye, or the shift of a single season." Joshua and Leanna fight and flirt, but she is also forced to deal with the death of her father, the disappearance of one brother, and the disabling football accident of another. Meanwhile she reheats her schoolgirl crush on Max, a handsome Winn-Dixie employee Joshua's pals threaten to steal away from her by sending him to L.A. for a screen test.
Unlike most plucky-heroine stories, this first novel has considerable emotional heft that works seamlessly with the comic relief. The pathos never gets too unwieldy or the humor too frivolous. Whether describing a passionate first kiss or a fatal tragedy, Cochran makes this story sing. 3-1/2 stars out of 4.
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From Publishers Weekly, July 19, 2004
The old adage "be careful what you wish for" gets new life in Cochran's sweet, funny debut. Life in tiny Pinecob, W.Va., takes a turn for the wacky when Hollywood heartthrob Joshua Reed, nailed with another DUI, is forced to spend 90 days of house arrest in the home of a local fan. Leanne Gitlin, 25, has loved Joshua since she was 15 and led his fan club for eight years; such relative proximity to glamour makes her stand out in town (where she now works in the county clerk's office) and distracts from the fact that she's never strayed from home and is deeply committed to being the family caretaker, especially for her handicapped brother, Beau Ray. Joshua, with a court-mandated ankle sensor, takes up residence in the room of Leanne's beloved older brother, Vince, who abandoned Pinecob for greener pastures. For the Gitlins, this means TV cameras, drunken fans undressing on their lawn and an overdose of Joshua's bad attitude. In the midst of all this, wise, strong-willed Leanne slowly faces big life choices and long-hidden feelings for old friend Max, who's nursing some new big dreams of his own. The plot's a bit far-fetched, but that's just part of the fun in this poignant, gently comic story about growing up and moving on.
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