CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 9 . . . . December 22, 2006
I Was a Teenage Popsicle.
Bev Katz Rosenbaum.
New York, NY: Berkley Jam Books (Distributed in Canada by Penguin Group Canada), 2006.
248 pp., pbk., $12.50.
Grades 8-11 / Ages 13-16.
Review by Michelle Superle.
I hold it in during the ride, but when I get home, I burst into tears.
“I knew it wasn’t a good idea for you to go there,” Sunny says in the kitchen, sighing. “Can I get you something? Hot chocolate? Tea?”
“No, thanks,” I honk into a tissue. Did she just offer me a beverage? “It probably wasn’t a good idea for me to go there,” I murmur, sinking into a chair. (Not that you can sink into a chrome chair.) “I saw Emma.”
“Oh, Floe,” Sunny says, sounding stricken.
“Don’’t worry, she doesn’t know the truth,” I say, sniffling.
“Oh, honey, I wasn’t thinking about that,” she says. “I was thinking how hard it must have been for you.”
Okay, this is weird. It’s as if she’s suddenly remembered that as my guardian, she’s required to offer at least a nominal type of comfort when I’m distressed. I blow my nose with a tissue from the box on the kitchen countertop and say, “Who are you and what did you do with my sister?”
I Was a Teenage Popsicle, by Bev Katz Rosenbaum, is a slick new YA novel for teen girls aged 13 to16. Set 10 years in the future in Venice Beach, California, the story unfolds around the issue of cryogenics. Protagonist Floe Ryan was “vitrified” at 16 and “frozen” for 10 years until scientists found a cure for her condition, unfroze her, and “brought her back” to life. The story focuses on Floe’s reintegration into normal life, her establishment of relationships with her younger sister, now her older guardian, and new friends, as well as her attempts to save the Venice Beach Cryonics Center so that her parents will not remain “frozen” forever.
I Was a Teenage Popsicle is every inch the YA novel. Every genre convention is neatly in place, so teen readers will feel right at home. While the story actually does delve into some deep thematic issues, particularly of the definition of life and the morality around tampering with human mortality, it’s easy to be fooled into thinking this is just another teen story. The mile a minute sarcasm and teen “humour” throughout do echo the author’s self-admitted role models: Mean Girls and Gilmour Girls. One can only assume, then, that teens readers will respond eagerly to this flippant tone and now conventional diction and humour. For adult readers (if the reviewer is typical), however, the saturated style is exhausting and tedious. This will be a fun read for teens, but it is unlikely to generate any literary staying power.
Michelle Superle teaches Children’s Literature and Composition at the University College of the Fraser Valley.
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