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Susin Nielsen

Toronto, James Lorimer, 1989. 188pp, paper, ISBN 1-55028-237-9 (cloth) $16.95, 1-55028-235-2 (paper) $4.95. CIP

Grades 7 to 9/Ages 12 to 14
Reviewed by Dorothy Dodge.

Volume 18 Number 2
1990 March

Shane attended grade 8 at Degrassi High. Although this was his second year there, he didn't have many friends and was looked upon as a loner. His self-esteem was at a low ebb; his father (a minister) and mother adored their older son Carl, and Shane felt inade­quate in his brother's shadow. He was sure he had been a mistake, considering how old his parents were.

When Shane met Spike and they started going together, the world seemed to turn around - he was loved, the other kids at school seemed more friendly and there were party invita­tions. Of course, he didn't tell his parents any of this. He started lying to them.

Lies built on lies and soon Shane was in serious trouble. He was into drugs and alcohol, Spike became pregnant, and when he finally told his parents the truth they were horrified, furious, and refused to discuss his problems. Shane turned to drugs and disaster struck.

This is a well written story told without any preaching - to teenagers, for teenagers, in a manner they can certainly relate to and understand. Shane's inability to talk to his parents is very realistic. His gradual acceptance of, and finally desire for, alcohol and drugs to "make him feel good" is a trap many teenagers fall into, and his feelings for his baby and his desire to look after her mirror the feelings of many teenagers. The one thing missing, perhaps, was some insight into the reality of keeping the child, certainly not a job for two fourteen-year-olds.

I would definitely recommend this book for junior high - secondary stu­dents and also for the parents of those students.

Dorothy Dodge, Lytton, B.C.
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