CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 17. . . .January 7, 2011
Avvy Go lives in two worlds. She is from an immigrant family that struggles to make ends meet; yet she goes to school in a wealthy neighbourhood. Avvy finds herself being torn between her loyalty and love for her foster sister, who works as a nanny for a wealthy family that treats her poorly, and her desire to be friends with the popular daughter of the same family. Avvy also worries about her bullied younger brother whom she wants to help but can't think of how. She is also torn between her desire for a social life and the fact that she must spend every evening and weekend working at her family's Chinese take-out food court kiosk.
When Avvy finds a lost wallet with a bank card inside, she does not initially even consider theft, as such an action would go against all she was taught by her honest, hardworking parents. But the lure of the bank card proves too much for her when she is motivated by a strong desire to help her parents and her bullied younger brother. Avvy secretly uses the stolen money from the card to help her parents and her brother. These acts of dishonest generosity force her to lie to her family and then compound her lies with further deceptions. Avvy finds herself having to tell an increasing number of lies to keep her theft from being discovered, even as she tries to return the money she stole to the rightful owner. Thief Girl tells the story of Avvy's moral struggle as she finds herself lying to her family when all she wants to do is help them succeed.
Written from Avvy's point of view, Thief Girl is an emotionally engaging novel that suffers from a slightly derivative plot and a contrived ending. Overall, Thief Girl makes for a good read that relates the realistic problems of teens who don't fit in but strive to be accepted by their peers.
Tara Stieglitz is a librarian in Edmonton, AB, and a recent graduate of the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia.
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