________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 31. . . .April 17, 2015


Connecting Dots. (A Gutsy Girl Book).

Sharon Jennings.
Toronto, ON: Second Story Press, 2015.
179 pp., trade pbk. & epub, $9.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-927583-62-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-927583-67-8 (epub).

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

***½ /4



I almost reminded her we’d just had ice cream at Vesuvio’s but didn’t bother. Not my fault if adults give me seconds of dessert. And besides, Mabel’s idea of dessert was stale pound cake from the week-old section of the Dominion store bakery. Ugh.

It was boring vanilla, but Lana let me put BeeHive corn syrup on it

“Christmas is coming soon. Ever go to the Santa Claus Parade?”

“Once. With Grandma.

“Well...want to go again? With me? Rita and I used to go. Even when we were older and didn’t believe-

“Didn’t believe what?”

“Oh, um, didn’t believe...that we should go. Too old. Little kids couldn’t see around us.”

“The time Grandma took me we got up early, but I couldn’t see anything around dads with kids on their shoulders.”

“We’ll go. I promise. Rita would like that. Me taking you.”


In Jennings' follow-up to Home Free, 11-year-old Cassie begins to “connect the dots” of her early childhood by writing an autobiography. More than half of what she writes involves suffering and hardship, but she continues because she finds it cathartic. Writing helps her remember she’s an illegitimate child, and that she’s been shuffled around amongst numerous relatives who have physically and sexually abused her. At school, she’s been either bullied or ignored. To cope with her feelings, she resorted to theft and arson. Since the death of her grandmother, she hasn’t felt wanted or loved. Leanna, her best friend, critiques her work, but she’s kind. She’s sensitive to the fact that Cassie has had a tough upbringing. Cassie does have a happier life once she’s adopted by two relatives who love her, but she’s left wondering about her birth parents. She finds out that her mom’s alive, but she doesn’t know her whereabouts, and that her dad is nearby. The character of Leanna becomes more developed by the end of this book. Jealousies develop between the two friends as Cassie becomes more involved in performing plays and spending time with the drama group. She’s looking forward to a brighter future in California with another relative; fun-loving Liz. The continuing storyline of Cassie proves she is a “Gutsy Girl” but the cover illustration makes her look the opposite. She looks sullen and resigned, and younger than an 11-year-old. It has been years since I read Home Free, but I was able to follow along with the story in this book. I would recommend Connecting Dots to readers who like Judy Blume novels. Those looking for a final conclusion to Home Free will not find it here. A third book will be needed to connect the remainder of the dots in Cassie’s life in regards to her parents.

Highly Recommended.

Taya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

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.

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