________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 31. . . .April 16, 2010


Nothing But Your Skin. (Single Voice).

Cathy Ytak. Translated by Paula Ayer.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2009.
88 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $19.95 (hc.)
ISBN 978-1-55451-233-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55451-238-6 (hc.).

The Pool Was Empty. (Single Voice).

Gilles Abier. Translated by Paula Ayer.
64 pp.

Grades 9 and up / Ages 14 and up.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

*** /4



It's not like I wouldn't have been up for it anyway, but the kiss happened because of a misunderstanding. He insisted on driving me right to my house. Just as I opened the car door and was saying thank you to Alex, who was smiling, a gust of wind blew a piece of paper off my lap. When I moved toward him to pick it up, he thought I was going to kiss him, and he closed his eyes. We stayed that way, not moving, for a few seconds- he didn't dare to open his eyes, and I didn't dare reach over to get the paper. And I thought he was so touching, so innocent, so beautiful, that I decided to taste his lips. A little. Just a tiny bit. Just a peck, before I climbed out of the car, not turning back. (From The Pool Was Empty.)

That night I told you about my family, I was wearing my black pants and a pale green T-shirt under my dark green sweater. I wasn't very happy because I thought my blue gloves didn't match the green. But then you showed me the tree and the bird singing in the tree, and I wanted that bird to sing for a long time, just for us. Later, you told me that you used to dream of studying birds- an ornithologist is what you called it. And later, I understood why it could only be a dream. (From
Nothing But Your Skin.)


internal artIn The Pool Was Empty, Celia is 16, but she's already spent time in jail and been on trial for murder. In Nothing But Your Skin, Louella, also 16, has a boyfriend who's been accused of rape. Both girls hold back nothing as they describe the events leading up to the point their lives changed forever. Celia, from The Pool Was Empty, met Alex seven months ago while hitchhiking. Although she never was on friendly terms with his mom, it's no surprise she blames Celia for the death of her son. While Celia confesses to her poolside activities with Alex before the accident, readers will be shocked to learn what she believes may have contributed to Alex's fall. Louella, in Nothing But Your Skin, is overwhelmed when she meets Matt on her way home from her special needs class. Their walks home are awkward at first, but, as their conversations lengthen, they soon feel comfortable enough to spend the night together out on the frozen lake. Although they were prepared for anything that might occur that night, they didn't foresee two men with dogs and Louella's parents finding them under the stars and entwined in a sleeping bag.

     Originally published in France, this first book in the "Single Voice" series contains two short novels written in a flip book format. (After reading one story, readers turn the book around to read the other story). The events are extraordinary, but the intense plots and well-developed protagonists will appeal to readers who want an uncensored look into the lives of two rebellious, yet resilient teens.

      Born in France, Cathy Ytak has worked as a translator, journalist and bookbinder. She has written books for children and young adults, as well as several recipe books. Actor and theater director Gilles Abier studied French literature in university. When he is not acting or directing theatre, Gilles is writing for children and young adults. Gilles lives in St. Denis, France.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

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

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.