________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 19 . . . . May 24, 2002

cover The Accomplice.

Norma Charles.
Vancouver, BC: Raincoast Books, 2001.
150 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 1-55192-430-7.

Subject Headings:
Children of divorced parents-Juvenile literature
Kidnapping, Parental-Juvenile literature
Sisters-Juvenile literature

Grades 7-9 / Ages 12-14.

Review by Christina Pike.

*** /4


Megan inhaled deeply and concentrated on stretching out her arm and pulling the left blade back through the water. She tried to ignore the painful blister forming between her thumb and forefinger.

Those reefs were familiar. That even looked like the same eagle at the top of the tall spruce tree, standing guard. And were those the same oystercatchers hanging out on the cliffs? As the birds squawked their strange call, their long beaks opened and closed like pairs of bright orange scissors.

"That's the stuff, Meg. Reach as far forward as you can, then pull back. You're doing very well. A real natural."

She glowed at her father's praise. If only she could push away that dark seed of uneasiness in her chest. If only he weren't acting so weird.

The Accomplice is a story about 12-year-old Megan and her family. Megan and her younger sister, Jen, live with their mother and are estranged from their father. When the girls' father calls unexpectedly and wants them to spend the weekend with him and his new family, Megan hastily begins making plans, forgiving him instantly for his past. Since their mother has forbidden them from seeing their father without first going through the proper channels, Megan, feeling betrayed, convinces her sister to sneak away to meet him anyway. Leaving only a note behind, the girls meet their father for what they believe is only a weekend visit. As the weekend draws to a close, Megan begins to realize that her father has no intention of bringing them back to their mother.

     The Accomplice is a novel about broken family relationships, trust and growing up. Focusing on Megan, Norma Charles has created a realistic world paralleling our own where divorce seems more and more common. The conflicts with which Megan must deal are similar to those any child of divorce has to reconcile. The feelings of hurt and betrayal that she feels about her parents divorce, her mother's changing their home, "throwing out the old and dragging in the new," and her father's new wife and son all are common of someone in a similar situation. For further suspense, Charles has made the cause of the divorce the father's past drinking and his temper. All in all, Charles has created a novel that is timely and characters who are believable. As an added bonus, the setting for the story is breathtakingly depicted. A good read.


Christina Pike is a learning resource and English teacher at Ascension Collegiate in Bay Roberts, NF.

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

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364