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Susin Nielsen

Toronto, James Lorimer, 1989. 188pp, paper, ISBN 1-55028-254-9 (cloth) S16.95, 1-55028-256-5 (paper) $4.95. (# 13 in the Degrassi series). CIP

Grades 7 to 9/Ages 12 to 14
Reviewed by Esther Hutchison.

Volume 18 Number 3
1990 May

The Degrassi kids are growing up. From Degrassi Street they have progressed to "Degrassi Junior High," a popular TV series. A new series of Degrassi books is based on characters and situation from the TV series.

The characters will be familiar to those who have watched the shows, which have plots that portray teenage problems with reasonable accuracy.

In this volume, Melanie is approaching junior high with trepidation. We follow her through the trauma of the first bra, the first crush, dealing with the taunts of her classmates, and a gamut of uncertainties.

Melanie and her mother have been proud of their independence and self-sufficiency, but Melanie begins to reject these values as her insecurity leads her to try for acceptance in her new school. When she attempts to build a relationship with the father she has never known, wishful thinking leads her to create a web of lies. Of course, she is found out and the complications are solved, but the ending is not too pat or rosy.

Although the character development of Melanie and her mother is realized with a bit more shading than in traditional teen series, the writing tends to be formulistic. The cover format is attractive and identifiable, with photos of actors from the TV series superimposed on a page from a notebook, and the titles are all character names. With the TV tie-in, these books could become popular with teen series fans.

Esther Hutchison, Spruce Grove, Alta.
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