________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 12. . . .November 22, 2013


Pure Fake. (SideStreets).

Beverly Scudamore.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2013.
136 pp., pbk., hc. & ebook, $9.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.), $8.95 (ebook).
ISBN 978-1-4594-0534-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4594-0533-2 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-4594-0535-6 (ebook).

Grades 9-12 / Ages 14-17.

Review by Mary Harelkin Bishop.

*** /4



When Colter and Mel first met, he fell hard for her. Personally, I don’t get what he saw in her. She’s got long brown hair, usually pulled back, a ponytail, blue eyes, and a pretty face. She’s not special in any way. Plus, her wardrobe sucks – jeans and sweats that look recycled. She wears running shoes in the winter, flip-flops in the summer. Zero effort. Everyone thinks she’s soooo nice, but she was never innocent. The whole time she and Colter were going out, she was lusting after my boyfriend, Dustin. Bitch!

When Colter and Mel met in January, he was pretty missed up. He had just transferred high schools to help escape the memory of his girlfriend’s tragic death in a car accident. It didn’t help that he was in the car when she spun out of control. Although Colter wasn’t injured, he was having problems dealing with her death and rumours that he was somehow to blame for the accident. With a fresh start at Meridian and a new girlfriend, he was finally getting his life together. He was in love and happy until he caught Mel and Dustin in each other’s arms outside Tim Hortons. Later that night, Mel told him she wanted to break up. It was no coincidence that Dustin broke up with me about the same time! Both of us felt used and betrayed. She even spread a rumour around the school that Colter had tried to rape her. That was a low blow.

Can you blame Colter for wanting revenge?


Pure Fake is a fast-paced story about a young woman who is obsessed with material things like clothing and make-up. From the Lorimer “SideStreet” series, this book is intended for students 13 years and older who are reading at about a grade 4 level. It is a short book which packs a lot of drama and action into each chapter.

      Written in the first-person, the story follows Gina and her friends as they party their way through the final days of June and into the summer holidays. Gina is 17 and judges people by their attire and popularity, and she chooses her boyfriend because of his appearance. Colter appears to be interested in Gina, but there are clues in the beginning chapters that he is not quite the Mr. Wonderful he is pretending to be. Colter has been accused by some of trying to rape his former girlfriend, and another girlfriend has died in a car accident. Colter has recently switched schools to get away from the accusations. The reader is left wondering if Colter is indeed guilty of any of the crimes.

     Gina is a stereotypical young woman who thinks only of herself, her looks and whether or not she needed the breast enhancements she received. She would not dream of going out of the house in anything but the most current designer clothes, and she takes diet pills to help keep her weight down when she eats too much. She judges, sometimes harshly, girls who don't dress as she does, and, at first, she chooses her girl friends from this narrow slant as well. She is always thinking about fashion and false friends, and she discounts many clues that perhaps Colter is not trustworthy. As the story unfolds, Gina finds herself excusing Colter's abuse of prescription drugs, his high speed Sea-Doo ride which nearly costs Gina her life, and his temper. Slowly, with the help of some friends, and a beating, Gina comes to see that Colter is out of control. In the end, Gina runs for her life in old clothes and runners and perhaps comes to realize that life has more to it than fashion and appearance. This is a fitting end for a young woman who had been obsessed with looking perfectly manicured every waking moment.

     I found Gina to be a good story teller and rather enjoyed viewing the world from her narrow perspective as she ignored some of those around her who were trying to set her straight. Gina tells her story like it is, even if it makes her look questionable. The plot involves drugs, death, an overdose, attempted murder, high speeds and a ride on a Sea-Doo which almost ends in disaster. In some ways, this book reads like a teen soap opera with stereotypical characters, but the flawed heroine does learn a life lesson in the end, and I felt hope for her to mature into a caring citizen of the Earth. Fast-paced and gritty, and at a reachable vocabulary level, Pure Fake would be of interest to teen girls who struggle with reading.


Mary Harelkin Bishop is the author of seven books and is most well-known for the “Tunnels of Moose Jaw” time travel adventures. She has also written a farming story, Seeds of Hope, and a biography about Canada's Paralympic Champion, Colette Bourgonje. Currently, Mary is a Literacy Teacher for Saskatoon Public Schools in Saskatoon, SK.

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

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