________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 2 . . . . September 17, 2004

cover Racing Fear. (SideStreets).

Jacqueline Guest.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2004.
158 pp, pbk. & cl., $6.95 (pbk.), $14.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55028-838-5 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55028-839-3 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Drug traffic-Juvenile fiction.
Traffic accidents-Juvenile fiction.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 7-10 / Ages 12-15.

Review by Ann Ketcheson.

**** /4


Adam wished he hadn't promised both Zoe and Trent not to talk to anyone about what was going on. He could use his dad's advice. For weeks now, Adam had been reassuring his father that on Ritalin Trent was as normal as any other teenager. His dad had laughed and said that perhaps that was the problem. Unfortunately, for all of them, the problems were now past the realm of normal teenage trouble.

As Adam walked Zoe to her car, it was as though he was standing on spring ice and a Chinook had just blown in. Everything was going to crack wide open at any minute with disastrous results.

He had no choice now. He had to convince Trent to go to the police and tell them everything. Marcus was dangerous.

Your friend is behaving oddly and getting mixed up in something that might be illegal. And your relationship with him is a little rocky anyway because he was so badly injured in a car accident which happened when you were driving. What do you do? How can you help?

     This is the dilemma faced by Adam in Jacqueline Guest's latest novel, Racing Fear. Adding to the plot are the usual parent/teen misunderstandings, scenes from a high school and a dance club, and a dash of romance. This entire scenario is set against the exciting, dangerous and alluring background of rallysport.

     Guest is an award-winning Métis author from Alberta, and this is her ninth teen fiction novel. It is an action-packed story set in and around Calgary. The characters are strong and well-drawn teens whose dialogue is believable and in character. These are pretty much average kids, neither superdemons nor superheroes. Descriptions of the Rockies evoke that beautiful mountain scenery but are interspersed with technical and in-depth descriptions of cars, driving and the intricacies of rally racing.

     The novel is a good combination of sporting action, suspense and romance. It is within the genre of high interest/low vocabulary and so will appeal to avid readers and reluctant readers alike. The 158 pages are divided into 15 relatively short chapters. Interwoven in the plot are social and moral issues which concern many of today's teens. Classroom discussions stemming from the novel could range from issues of illegal drug use to coping with ADHD, to honesty in relationships. The teens are believable, as are the adults portrayed in the novel. Guest does a marvelous job of telling a good story and provoking thought about current teen concerns and yet leaving the reader satisfied with a good read along with a positive message.

Highly Recommended.

Ann Ketcheson, a former teacher of high school English and French, is currently the
teacher-librarian at Peterborough Collegiate in Peterborough, ON.


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