________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 8 . . . . December 5, 2008

cover Charged. (Sidestreets).

Carol Moreira.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2008.
124 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc).
ISBN 978-1-55277-006-1 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-1-55277-008-5 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Tennagers-Juvenile fiction.
Parent and child-Juvenile literature.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.

Review by Christina Pike.

**** /4


She looked at me and her eyes were asking me to be nice and say, Okay then, no problem. I didn’t want to hurt Mom’s feelings——I knew she was probably lonely. And I knew she’d let Jim move in no matter what I said. She wasn’t asking for my permission.
But her words struck me. He doesn’t want Pete to grow up fatherless. What exactly did she think I’d done? What did she think Matthew was doing? My dad was long gone. All I had left of him was a hazy memory of a big, beefy guy with a big, beefy voice. Maybe he wasn’t even really like that. Maybe he’’d just seemed that way because I was small. I hadn’t liked Matthew’s dad, but he didn’t stick around long anyway.
I didn’t say anything. I just kept drinking my Coke. I was trying to decide whether to argue or act like I didn’t care.

“Pete’s just a baby,” Mom said. It almost sounded like she was begging. Then I understood. She thinks I’m an adult already——I’d only turned fifteen.

Charged, written by Carol Moreira, tells the story of two 15-year-old friends, Craig and Mandy, who are living through some tough times with their families. Craig’s mother is involved with a new man who Craig’s believes is yet another of a long line of losing boyfriends. Mandy’s parents are on the brink of divorce, and on top of this, Mandy is struggling with the guilt of causing her mother’s skiing accident. When things come to a climax, Craig and Mandy need their friendship more than ever to cope.

     Moreira has written about two families and two friends. She has intertwined two stories with an ending that holds many surprises. This story is also about growing up and taking responsibility for your own actions and doing the right thing. The author chose the title to promote the theme on two levels. First the two main characters are "charged" as they try to find their way and fit in with their families. Second, at the end of the novel, Craig’s potential stepfather is "charged."

     A compelling story and must 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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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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