FISH HOUSE SECRETS
Saskatoon, SK: Thistledown Press, 1992. 127 pp., paper, $16.00.
Reviewed by Margaret Mackey.
Volume 20 Number 5
Chad and Jill are young people with problems. Chad's mother has died and his father is suffocating him with unwanted attention. Jill's father is a gambler and his financial recklessness has made life miserable for the family. When he steals the money her mother has saved for Jill's dance lessons, she decides to run away for a day or two to teach them a lesson.
Through a series of errors, Jill winds up hiding on the Nova Scotia property of Chad's grandparents. Chad and his father, as usual, are spending their holiday there, the first one without Chad's mother. Chad finds Jill and tries to help her; to do this, he must stand up to his father.
The story is told in alternating narratives by Jill and Chad, mainly in the present tense. Their differing perspectives on the same event and their different sources of confusion and unhappiness are well handled. There is a scene involving nudity which may perturb some adults but is unlikely to upset teen readers. Only some problems are solved by the end of the book, and Jill's story, in particular, is left open.
This is Stinson's first young adult novel. Neither story nor technique is absolutely new, yet she has made a satisfying whole out of her entwined narratives. Many adolescents, of both sexes, will enjoy this book.
This book is recommended for all schools and libraries that serve young adult readers.
Grades 7 to 9 / Ages 12 to 14.
Margaret Mackey is a Ph.D. student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta.
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Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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