CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 16. . . .December 18, 2015
Leading Lines. (A Pippa Greene Novel).
Toronto, ON: ECW Press, 2015.
192 pp., trade pbk., PDF & ePub, $11.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-77041-232-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-77090-757-7 (PDF), ISBN 978-1-77090-758-4 (ePub).
Grades 8-12 / Ages 13-17.
Review by Chris Laurie.
“Mom, you can stop the charade now. He’s my birth father, and you pretended you never liked him. You didn’t talk to him for my entire life and now you are? Or have you been talking to him all these years and I just didn’t know?
“No, of course not. David was your father’s friend. We made the decision that that would be the relationship to uphold. Pippa, after what he did, I didn’t want anything to do with him.”
“So why now?”
“He called after your father died, and every once in a while he calls to check on me. While you were in New York, he let me know how you were doing a few times.”
“If you wanted to know how I was doing you could’ve asked me.”
“Sweetie, why are you so upset? I haven’t told him that you know he’s your father.”
“He’s not my father. I don’t want David in my life. I don’t need David in my life. And as far as I can tell, you’ve been doing fine without him all this time. I don’t get why you need to talk to him now.” Only, as soon as I say it, it dawns on me. This isn’t even about me. What if this is about her? What if now that Dad is gone, she’s thinking, What if? What if she wants to sub in David for Dad?
Still reeling from the discovery at Tisch Photography Camp that David is her birth father, Pippa has returned home and to school to find that her world has shifted. Her boyfriend Dylan has returned from touring with The Cherry Blasters but seems distant, more interested in the band than in his relationship with Pippa. Pippa is also struggling to understand why her mother has kept the truth about her biological father from her, all while she continues to grieve over the loss of her father. Ironically, the person who seems to make the most time for Pippa is her former arch-enemy, Ben.
Teens will readily relate with Pippa who is an engaging, complex 16-year-old. She is humorous, intelligent, moody, jealous, and loyal, everything you’d expect to find in a best friend, girlfriend and daughter. She struggles to understand other people’s actions and her own feelings whilst balancing family, friends, school work and photography club. Readers might not always like Pippa or agree with her choices, but everything she says and does rings completely true.
Readers will experience all the joys, heartbreak and discoveries of the teenage years as Pippa continues her journey to adulthood. With this series, Guertin has written another novel with a plot that is believable but not predictable, a rare treat in young adult fiction. Secondary characters are also well-written, including Pippa’s mother who is struggling with losing her husband, balancing a career and a family as a single parent. Is Dylan more interested in his band and new maybe-girlfriend? Is this new, tender side of Ben genuine? This novel’s open ending leaves this reader eagerly anticipating the next title in the series.
Chantel Guertin is the bestselling author of two adult novels, Stuck in Downward Dog and Love Struck, and the YA novels The Rule of Thirds and Depth of Field. She’s a beauty expert on The Marilyn Denis Show and editor-at-large at The Kit. She lives in Toronto, ON.
Chris Laurie is an Outreach Librarian at the Winnipeg Public Library in Winnipeg, MB.
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