________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 10 . . . . January 4, 2007


Strange Beauty. (SideStreets).

Lori Weber.           
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2006.
144 pp., pbk. & cl., $9.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (cl.).
ISBN 978-1-55028-941-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55028-944-2 (cl.).

Grades 8-12 / Ages 13-17.

Review by Christina Pike.

**** /4


I knocked softly on my grandmother’s door. She was really tired after supper and went to lie down. She’s been doing that a lot lately, but I guess it’s not unusual to be tired when you’re eighty-five!

“Come in,” she calls.

“Hey, Gran. I need an interesting family story to write about. Do you know any?”

“Oh, good heavens, I know several. What kind do you want? Love, death, betrayal, prejudice, loyalty, murder?”


“Well, you know my brother Johnnie was killed in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. That’s murder, isn’t it?”

“I guess so. What about the prejudice story?”

“Well, my sister Violet fell in love with a Mohawk man from Kanawakhe. My family was mortified and they forbade her to see him. That was back in the days when kids listened to their parents on matters like this. Poor Violet … she died a spinster, never married. She really loved him.”

“Wow! That’s so sad. What story do you know about loyalty?”

“It is very old story, full of a bit of everything really – love, hardship—all kinds of stuff.”

“Tell me.”

“I’ll tell you tomorrow, Penny, when I’m rested.”


Lori Weber’s Strange Beauty is a story about a teen named Penny and the many different relationships she has in her life. There is her school life and her friendships, and then there is her home life and family. It is while delving into her past trying to find out her “history” that Penny begins to get a sense of her identity and at the same time learns who are her true friends. Penny also discovers that the things she once thought were true are no longer true.

     Weber has created a complex story that attempts to address what is friendship. Weber wants her readers to realize that friendship is timeless and knows no boundaries. At the same time, she wants the teen audience, through Penny and her friends, to realize that assumptions that are made about others are not always true and can be hurtful. The age old cliché, “Don’t judge a book by a cover” is a theme that is presented.

     An interesting, thought-provoking read.

Highly Recommended.

Christina Pike is the principal of St. Francis School in Harbour Grace, NL.


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

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