________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 6. . . . November 15, 2002

cover Losing Forever.

Gayle Friesen.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2002.
247 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55337-032-5 (pbk), ISBN 1-55337-031-7 (cl).

Grades 8-12 / Ages 14-18.

Review by Jennifer L. Branch.

**** /4


I couldn't sleep that night. The shadows inside the cabin were new to me and they danced eerily on the walls of my bedroom. Finally I took my sleeping bag outside and wrapped myself in it, lying down on the recliner on the porch. A foreign smell came off the tar-black water. It was a deep night smell.

The moon was nowhere to be seen now, and even the starlight seemed swathed in inkiness. I'd never seen Mara so dark, never thought she was capable of it. I pulled the sleeping bag closer around me. The boats moored at the dock seemed perched on top as if in a painting, stuck forever, along with the swimming wharf and the buoys out beyond. The lack of movement frightened me.

In all the years I'd been coming here, I'd always seen Mara as welcoming, like an old friend. But not tonight. I shivered again. Nothing could make me step into that water. If I did, I was sure I would be pulled under. The only light came from the trucks driving on the highway parallel to the lake, but it didn't pierce the flatness, only skated across it, and then it was black again.

I closed my eyes and tried to pretend it was all a terrible nightmare.

Unfortunately for Jes, it isn't a terrible nightmare at all. Her mom and dad are recently divorced. Her dad is always sad, and Jes doesn't quite know what to say or do to help him. Her mom is getting married again to Cal, and Jes doesn't really like him. And then to make matters even worse, Cal's daughter, Angela, shows up without warning and moves in.

     Angela is everything Jes isn't. She is tall and gorgeous and able to get excited about bridesmaid dresses, flowers, and table decorations. Angela loves to go shopping with Jes's mother and can sit for hours helping to plan the wedding. Angela starts hanging out with Del, Jes's best friend, and then dating Sam, the boy next door. Jes just can't understand why everyone else can't see Angela's devious nature.

     In Losing Forever, Jes struggles with the many changes in her life. Jes needs to find a way to understand all that has happened in her life so that she can move forward. First, she needs to find a way to understand the major traumas in her life the death of her little sister and her parents' divorce. Then Jes needs to find a way to move forward in her relationships with friends, with boys, and, most importantly, with her mother and her father.

     Losing Forever is a captivating story. Gayle Friesen guides us gently, along with Jes, to an understanding of how the difficult things that happen in life can make us stronger, better people. The novel is thought provoking and beautifully written. The characters will touch your heart, and readers won't soon forget how hard it is to really let go.

Highly Recommended.

Jennifer L. Branch is an Assistant Professor in the School of Library and Information Studies and the Department of Elementary Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. She is also the Coordinator of the Teacher-Librarianship by Distance Learning Program. For more information about the program, please see www.quasar.ualberta.ca/tl-dl


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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364