________________ CM . . . . Volume IV Number 5 . . . . October 31, 1997

cover One Thing That's True.

Cheryl Foggo.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 1997.
128 pp., cloth, $16.95.
ISBN 1-55074-411-9.

Subject Headings:
Brothers and sisters-Juvenile fiction.
Runaway children-Juvenile fiction.
Secrecy-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 5 and up / Ages 10 and up.
Review by Darleen Golke.

**** /4


I used to think of the universe as a thing that hangs static in the sky, like a photograph, but that was when I was very young and the stars had color. Now I know the earth whirls and so does everything else. It's like a dance that looks complicated the first time you see it, but isn't. Everything knows where it's supposed to go next.

I've learned one thing that's true this summer, which I'll try not to forget. Things can change and you can think you're lost. But you can find your way again. You can still end up where you're supposed to be.
About to graduate from R. W. Douglas Junior High School in Calgary, Roxanne Jacob finds herself the target of a high school molester. Her older brother, Joel, defends her, but the fight triggers a series of events that substantially impacts on Roxanne's summer.

      Jacob family tensions simmer especially after the parents take Joel to see a psychologist. Emotionally, Roxanne roller coasts through the early summer. She must deal with the police, with her choices and their consequences, with friendship conflicts, and with growing family unease. The parents finally drive Joel and Roxanne to their grandparent's farm where they tell the children the truth about Joel's adoption. Joel's birth father, recently released from jail, has requested a custody hearing that precipitated the strain in a family that previously had operated smoothly. Joel reacts to the startling revelation by running away.

      Back in town, Roxanne frantically tries to decide where Joel might have gone. In the process, however, she quarrels with her best friend and confidant, Laura. With the help of Michael, Joel's friend, to whom she is strongly attracted, Roxanne finally contacts Joel and persuades him to return home. After the drama of the summer, Roxanne is ready for the structure of high school.

      Roxanne tells the story of her summer in first person with plenty of realistic dialogue especially in the sequences with Joel. Roxanne's observations of events and people are alternately humorous, sensitive, ironical, and clear-sighted. Although the Jacob family is Black living in a primarily white community, the story is not about racism but about Roxanne's coming of age. Joel and the supporting teenage characters, Laura and Michael, are also well-drawn and appealing. Foggo has effectively captured the ups and downs of adolescence in this well-paced first novel.

Note: One Thing That's True has been shortlisted for the 1997 Governor General's Award in the Children's Literature - Text category.

Highly recommended.

Darleen Golke is a teacher-librarian at Fort Richmond Collegiate in Winnipeg.

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

Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364