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Nazneen Sadiq

Toronto, James Lorimer, 1989. 176pp, paper, ISBN 1-55028-239-5 (cloth) $16.95, 1-55028-238-7 (paper) $4.95. (#15 in the Degrassi series). CIP

Grades 7 to 9/Ages 12 to 14
Reviewed by Jennifer Johnson.

Volume 18 Number 3
1990 May

Lucy Fernandez has a lot of complaints. It is February, she is bored with school, she is uncertain of her standing with a new boyfriend, and she is unhappy with her parents' increasingly casual approach to home life. After one too many solitary meals. Lucy flirts with the idea of escape. Her dreams become reality when she uses her mother's VISA card to purchase a three-day package vacation to the Bahamas.

The publicity for the "Degrassi" series states that the stories, while based loosely on scripts from the television series, expand on the experiences of the characters "by developing their personalities, problems and aspirations." Unfortunately, Lucy falls short of these intentions. Lucy's character, although central to the book, is presented in a cursory fashion. We learn that she has created a persona for herself - a breezy, self-assured manner - which covers a thoughtful, insecure personality, but the reader is not given any insight into the development of this character.

The plot skims along, touching the surface of Lucy's life, until the very last pages when her planned escape is discovered. In a dash to reach the conclusion, Lucy accuses and is accused by her parents, she patches up her friendships, her parents rework schedules, and Lucy, overhearing their comments, decides that they do care.

It is tempting to compare Lucy with Harriet's Daughter, another book that deals with the themes of family tensions, lack of communication, personal development, and the testing of a moral code. Margaret, like Lucy, comes upon the means of breaking away from a life she finds intolerable. Unlike Lucy, however, Margaret is a fully realized character in a community that is richly developed.

Lucy, in contrast, is a quick, light read that touches on serious issues but does so only superficially. While it has a place on paperback spinners for young adult readers, it does not fulfill its promise.

Jennifer Johnson, Ottawa Public Library,Ottawa, Ont.
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