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Hébert, Marie-Francine
Montreal, La courte echelle, 1992. 158pp, paper, $7.95, ISBN 2-89021-168-1. (Roman +), CIP

Grades 11 and up /Ages 16 and up

Reviewed by Philip K. Harber

Volume 20 Number 4
1992 September

In this the third novel in a series by Marie-Francine Hébert, her heroine Lea, still in school but growing up fast, is ready to have (safe) sex with Bruno. As in other novels in this series from La courte echelle, the authenticity of the background and the language are unquestionable; this gives these books an advantage over the translations of Francine Pascal and Degrassi Street. The adolescent characters are believable, and their parents, too (although they are more often divorced intellectuals than seems statistically likely).

The problem lies in the plot: there can be little suspense in a story in which the couple is constantly at the point of going to bed, when we know from the back cover that they do. There is a temporary embarrassment when Lea reads Bruno's diary and finds out that he has been unfaithful, but there is the obligatory happy ending and a sequel in embryo.

Sophisticated senior high school students in French Immersion will find these novels lively and interesting, and the writer's frankness about sexual matters and awareness of adolescent concerns will provoke discussion.

Philip K. Harber is a French-language library consultant with the Board of Education for the City of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario.

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