Bettina, the adolescent narrator of Ashley Prentice Norton's darkly comic novel, The Chocolate Money,
portrays her mother in sardonic terms—"Babs makes up her mind about
people and doesn't allow for upgrades"—meant to mask a deep loneliness.
At 15, Bettina enrolls in boarding school, where she goes on a
self-destructive spree, drinking, having sex, and eventually doing the
one thing she knows will get her mother's attention, however briefly.