CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 40. . . .June 17, 2011.
Winnipeg, MB: Pemmican, 2010.
159 pp., pbk., $14.95.
Grades 7-9 / Ages 12-14.
Review by Tanya Boudreau.
“Ariadne!” And now he definitely was shouting. “The office, young lady!”
“Uh, Mr. Steed?” Deena’s voice broke into the mist of animosity poisoning the air. “Maybe I should take her down there for you? Maybe she should be seeing the school nurse.”
Nurse?, I thought, why a nurse?
“Nurse?” He seemed to be taken off guard. “Why do you thing she needs to see the nurse?”
Deena sat, her hands pressed flat on her thighs, and faced him. “You have to admit,” she said, “Ari’s not usually belligerent.”
Not out loud, she might have added, if she’d known me a little better. Behind the scenes, though, I was plenty belligerent. Outrageous, even. Obnoxious.
“So her usual mood might indicate that something is physically wrong with her,” Deena continued.
I was impressed. This girl was becoming a sort of bottomless pit of hitherto unimagined surprises. First there’d been Eric, then that house full of slightly disreputable friends and now this purposeful misrepresentation to a teacher.
Fifteen-year-old Ari thinks her life is awful. Her parents have embarrassing jobs. She’s invisible to the girls she wishes to be friends with and the boy she likes, and she doesn’t have enough money to buy the clothes and shoes she wants. Her English teacher has assigned her an assignment she dreads doing, and her head looks like a soccer ball after the first step of a make-over goes horribly wrong. Ari’s negative attitude about her life changes though when she meets other teenagers who have had a worse upbringing than she. Although she can’t relate to their experiences with unstable foster homes, teenage pregnancy, and painful childhood memories, she can relate to their struggles with acceptance and fitting in.
At first, Ari’s blog entries only reveal details about her hobbies, interests, and relationships, but as the school project continues, she comes to rely on the blog (which appears in approximately ever second chapter) to express her feelings and to ask for advice. Readers interested in psychics will enjoy reading about the gifts some of the characters have in this story and how they use them to help others. By the end of the story, Ari learns to appreciate her family and the friends that are around her. Instead of feeling humiliated around her mom, Ari feels proud, and her connection with Deena, a Metis girl, evolves from one of convenience to one of genuine friendship.
T.D. Thompson is from Edmonton, AB. This is her second young adult novel, with Flight of the Wild Geese, being the first.
Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.
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