CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 14 . . . . December 2, 2011
In Girl Fight, Faye Harnest has written a novel depicting a high school teen's struggle to carve out an identity for herself. Zadie Brown is known as a fighter who win every fight she enters. That is until Kat knocks her out. At this turn of events, Zadie wants only revenge and to get back her fighter reputation. After she hospitalizes Kat, Zadie is suspended for two weeks, and it is during this time that she begins to question everything. She questions who she wants to be. When she is challenged by one of Kat's friends to a fight, she walks away. It isn't until Kat exacts her revenge on Zadie's little sister, Ramona, that Zadie realizes it is impossible to break away.
Girl Fight begins, as the title implies, with two girls fighting. Similar to most teen conflicts, the fight is a result of one girl's kissing the other girl's boyfriend. Unexpectedly, the main character Zadie loses her first fight, and she is consumed with exacting revenge, a very typical adolescent response. It isn't until Zadie hospitalizes Kat and is uncertain of whether or not she has gone too far that Harnest allows her readers a glimpse into Zadie's multiple layers. The story isn't tied up into a neat package, however. As Zadie tries to fight her past, she is challenged, but these are only small tests of her character. It isn't until Zadie's sister is beaten up that Harnest allows Zadie to truly begin to see herself.
Girl Fight is about family relationships and finding oneself. It also goes below the surface to reveal why Zadie is the way she is. Harnest, in revealing Zadie's character, allows her readers a glimpse into the psyche of a 16-year-old.
Christina Pike is the principal of St. Paul's Junior High in St. John's, NL.
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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.