CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Mitzi Dale

Toronto, Groundwood/Douglas & Mclntyre, 1990. 153 pp, paper, $6.95
ISBN 0-88899-121-5. CIP

Grades 7 to 9/Ages 12 to 14
Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson.

Volume 19 Number 3
1991 May

After Round the Bend (Douglas & Mclntyre, 1988; Delacorte Press, 1991), Dale's emotionally powerful first novel about teen mental illness, The Sky's the Limit initially seems to be just another lightweight novel, an impression reinforced by the cover illustration. But, as the book's theme reveals, appear­ances can be deceiving.

The novel begins and concludes in a Hamilton, Ontario, comedy club, Yuk Yuk's. In the thirty-one chapters in between, seventeen-year-old Kimberly (Kim) Taylor chronologically shares events from late grade 8 to the end of grade 11. As junior high concludes, Kim, who characterizes herself as "just a regular dork," and two friends choose differing routes to avoid high school's social loneliness. Rejecting her friends' decision to find boy-friends, Kim determines to befriend Skye Manning, "teenage goddess" and school in-crowd leader.

Kim recognizes that Skye is "every­thing I'm not," and the girls' differences find expression in most aspects of their lives from socio-economic status to physical appearance, with Skye always enjoying the superior position. The two nevertheless discover friendship through a common interest in acting. Because of Kim's comic talents, "the sky's the limit" regarding her achieving a secret ambition to become a movie star, but Skye is limited by a terrible secret: her outwardly "perfect" life is but an act to mask her stepfather's sexual abuse.

Dale embeds subtle clues to Skye's home situation within the story, and readers, at book's end, will recall numerous incidents, such as Skye's shoplifting, that signaled her pleas for help. Appropriately, Dale avoids the easy path of a happy ending. This must-purchase title for all collections serving teens confirms Dale as a writer of young adult fiction of quality and substance.

Dave Jenkinson, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Man.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works