________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 17 . . . . April 29, 2005


Sun Signs.

Shelley Hrdlitschka.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2005.
201 pp., pbk. & cl., $9.95 (pbk.), $19.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55143-338-9 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55143-388-5 (cl.).

Grades 7-10 / Ages 12-15.

Review by Betsy Fraser.

***1/2 /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.


And then there's my subjects. One of them is mad at me. Another one has a hit every single day. (Is that possible? His whole life is beginning to sound a little too good to be true. Hmm. His email name is 2good4you.) The last one hardly has any hits.

I'm tired. Tired from the radiation and fed up from this experiment. I'd like to quit, but that's not thinking very positively, is it. Any chance you can shuffle around the stars for me?

Shelley Hrdlitschka has written a story that manages to do the incredible: she develops four characters in an epistolary novel, one that has at the center of its plot the fact that you can never be certain of the character behind the person writing those emails you receive. Fifteen-year-old Kayleigh Wyse takes on an online project as part of the homework for her correspondence classes. Unable to attend regular school because of her cancer, Kayleigh tries to find a project she can become excited about for science class. She is sure that when she finds a way to study the Scientific Method using her online classmates and one of her favorite things, astrology, things will be very interesting. Unfortunately, in an electronic age, it is all too easy for letters, data and friendships, to be taken at face value by a sick young girl. What then, will Kayleigh do, when she finds out that she has missed the earlier signs?

     This is a novel that feeds into current trends and the overwhelming popularity of epistolary and diary novels. It also develops characters nicely, particularly of a girl who seems to be incapable of handling such turmoil and betrayals, yet is able to overcome her troubles and those of the people who seemingly mistreated her. Kayleigh is a character who will have great appeal to a wide ranging audience. The story, itself, gives learning opportunities in being careful on the Internet and its various forms of communication and their inherent dangers and, as such, has possible appeal to teachers as well as public libraries.

Highly Recommended.

Betsy Fraser is a librarian with theCalgary Public Library.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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