________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 3 . . . . October 1, 2004


Klepto. (SideStreets).

Lori Weber.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2004.
160 pp, pbk. & cl., $6.95 (pbk.), $14.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55028-836-9 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55028-837-7 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Kleptomania-Juvenile fiction.
Shoplifting-Juvenile fiction.
Sisters-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 8-11 / Ages 13-16.

Review by Deanna Einarson.

*** /4


I take a stack of really neat tops and some jean overalls into the dressing room. I'm just killing time, really. I have no ulterior motives, not here, in a store that I don't really know. But before long that itchy feeling starts to come over me, and I know I just have to take something or I'll die. But I'm kind of scared. I'm out of my league here. I imagine the jail downtown filled with junkies and prostitutes. What if I get caught and thrown in with them. Could I stand it? On the other hand, it would serve my parents right to see me in the midst of such great company.


Kat is furious; she's always been the good daughter, so why does her life, her house, and her parents revolve around her sister, Hannah? Hannah's drug and alcohol use, her erratic and wild behaviour, and her vindictive tantrums have ruled their home for so long that the family is in a state of shock when she's gone. Hannah volunteered to go to a group home and through rehab to begin trying to mend all that she has destroyed. Kat's parents treat Hannah's leaving as their own personal failure and pull farther away from Kat while trying to strengthen their relationship with their out of control daughter.

     While Kat's parents try to deal with their chaotic family by maintaining the appearance of order and normalcy, Kat strikes out. After the worst fight with her parents and Hannah, Kat seeks refuge in the mall with her best friend, Anita. On impulse, she shoplifts for the first time and feels a rush of adrenaline and a sense of control that she seldom experienced. This impulsive action begins a downward spiral in Kat. The more stressful and uncomfortable she found her home life, the more frequently she stole and the braver her escapades became. Kat makes a monumental mistake by bragging about her shoplifting to a popular group of girls at school. Before she realizes what has happened, she becomes a thief for hire, stealing the items the girls want and receiving a small payment in return. Kat's rebellious shoplifting spree comes to an end when she is caught by store security. In a strange twist of events, being caught stealing starts to mend the relationship between Kat and Hannah and gives their family hope that they can overcome all the hurt that has been inflicted.

     Klepto, Lori Weber's first book, is an interesting psychological novel of the stresses that some teenagers face and how they deal with these pressures. Although not a plot that the average teenager would identify with specifically, it deals with themes of peer pressure, being less than popular, and being a member of an imperfect family unit, all themes to which teens can relate. Weber has done a good job of creating a plot with many aspects that tie together neatly and realistically.


Deanna Einarson is a teacher at Springfield Collegiate Institute in Oakbank, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.