________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 3 . . . . October 1, 2004


An Order of Amelie, Hold the Fries.

Nina Schindler.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2004.
112 pp., pbk, & cl., $10.95 (pbk.), $18.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55037-860-0 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55037-861-9 (cl.).

Grades 6-12 / Ages 11-17.

Review by Marsha Skrypuch.



Sorry to have to say this, but I'm not the person you think I am. I'm not the kind of girl you would ever have tailed. I'm tall and boring and have long, dark hair and don't carry myself in any way that someone might call confident.

Besides, if we passed on the street, I doubt you would ever see my hair anyway, since I prefer to keep it in curlers most of the time -- big, pink ones -- and always have my head covered in at least two scarves.


Tim is a 17-year-old high school student who can't believe his luck. He is following a stunning blonde in leather pants when a scrap of paper falls from her bag. On the paper is what he thinks are her name and address. He takes this as a sign that they are meant to be together, and so he writes to her, only to find out that the name and address do not belong to her.

     Amelie, the blonde's best friend, is 19-years-old and has a busy job interning at a hotel. She writes him a gentle missive back, breaking the news that she is not the one he seeks, and, even if she was, she's too old for him and "almost engaged."

     A flurry of e-mails, letters, text messages and notes are exchanged, and a friendship and then budding romance develops. Despite the constricting format, the author is able to develop the characters of Tim and Amelie. She is also able to bring in the secondary love interest of Amelie's long-time boyfriend, which adds conflict and tension to a simple story.

     Advertised as Griffin and Sabine for teens, An Order of Amelie, Hold the Fries is a clever and entertaining short novel. Each page spread has a background photo or graphic, and then an image of the message, itself, in the format of an email or letter or postcard and so on. The novel is 112 pages long, but it only took me about 45 minutes to read. It would be a perfect novel for a reluctant teen reader because it doesn't talk down, but it is a quick and fun.

internal art     Nina Schindler originally wrote this novel in German, and I suspect many changes had to be made to make it relevant for the Canadian market. The translator did a great job in transplanting the setting to British Columbia and incorporating Canadian culture.

     I only have one slight criticism, and it is more about the graphics than the novel itself. Peppered throughout are line drawings of Amelie and Tim, and they're a tad dorky looking. My hope is that teens will consider these line drawings to be retro instead of dorky.

     The postage stamp motif cover is attractive, and the book, itself, looks more substantial than its estimated 12,000 words. No teen would be embarrassed to be seen with this novel.


Marsha Skrypuch. of Brantford, ON, is the author of three picture books and three young adult novels.

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

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