CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 18. . . .January 11, 2013
Not a Chance.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2013.
145 pp., pbk., pdf, epub, $9.95.
ISBN 978-1-4598-0216-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-0217-9 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-0218-6 (epub).
Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-12.
Review by Tara Stieglitz.
Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.
I flop down on a big rock. "So what's the news?"
My friend's face splits into a grin. "I'm getting married."
I gape at her. She smiles back, a shy smile, like she can't believe her luck. My eyes flicker down to her flat stomach, and she swats me. "No, not yet, Dian. What kind of girl do you think I am?"
Not one who would be happy about getting married at fourteen, I wanted to shout, but I can't get the words out.
Every summer, Dian accompanies her doctor parents to the Dominican Republic where her parents work at a clinic. As a kid, Dian was glad to go and happy to see her Dominican friend Aracely, but this summer Dian is 13 and would rather stay in Canada and spend her summer like any other Canadian teenager. When she arrives in the Dominican Republic, she discovers that a lot has changed, and Aracely surprises her with the news that she is engaged to be married. Not a Chance focuses on Dian's struggle to come to terms with cultural differences that have become apparent between her and Aracely as they grow older and mature. Dian also finds herself increasingly at odds with her parents, who, she feels, are out of touch with her own wants and beliefs.
Not a Chance has much in common with typical young adult novels. It deals with a protagonist who sees changes happening around her that she must come to terms with, and the book depicts a somewhat stereotypical relationship between a teen and her parents. What sets this novel apart are the unique setting and the cross-cultural themes. The Dominican village in which the novel is rooted is well realized, and the characters do not feel one-dimensional. Dian, herself, while sometimes slightly annoying, is well characterized and relatable.
Not a Chance is a well-written and engaging novel that takes a typical young adult story to a more interesting place.
Tara Stieglitz is a librarian at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, AB.
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