________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 17. . . .January 8, 2016


On a Slippery Slope. (Hannah Smart).

Melody Fitzpatrick.
Toronto, ON: Dundurn, 2016.
210 pp., trade pbk., pdf & epub, $12.99 (pbk.), $12.99 (pdf), $8.99 (epub).
ISBN 978-1-4597-3157-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4597-3158-5 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4597-3159-2 (epub).

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Aileen Wortley.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



“Well, this is great! We all know each other!” Gabby puts her arms around both of us, saving me from A.J.’s outstretched hand. “Well, gotta get to class,” she says, letting go. Once she’s halfway down the hall, she turns and yells back, “Oh, and you have to join our club! See you at lunch.”

“Club?” I say, looking at A.J., who is now the only person left in the hallway besides me.

Yeah,” he says, all smiling and dimply. “There’s the signup sheet on the wall.” He points to where he was standing earlier. “If you want to meet people and have fun, sign up… if you dare,” he adds with a chuckle.

Just then, Ms. Winters pokes her head out of the classroom and points to the clock. Time to get moving, Hannah. Class is starting.”

I look down at my hands, which are empty, and then back at A.J.

“Heads up!” he yells, throwing me a pen.

I run over and scribble my name on the bottom of the sheet, not knowing exactly what for. Oh well, I guess I’ll find out soon enough.


Hannah has just moved to Maine and is anxious to fit in. She already knows neighbour Gabby, but Gabby is not there to provide moral support on her first day at school, and Hannah becomes the victim of two class bullies. Things look up when she finds that A.J., twin brother of Gabby, someone she’d met previously and on whom she has a bit of a crush, also attends the same school. Anxious to please her new friends A.J. and Gabby, Hannah signs up for a school club without knowing its purpose. Never having skied, she is dismayed to find later that it’s for skilled skiers and snowboarders. Worse… her peers seem to think she is expert at both. Rather than explaining her error, Hannah allows the deception to continue while frantically taking up a job at a local TV station to earn money to buy a snowboard and ski equipment, learn to use them and participate in the upcoming school trip. Disaster follows upon disaster, but against all odds Hannah’s good luck prevails.

      Hannah Smart on a Slippery Slope is the second title featuring the escapades of Hannah Smart, with Operation Josh Taylor being the first. The story is compelling and thoroughly involving as the reader is hurtled from one improbable situation to another. Hannah is a typical teenager, obsessed with her own emotions, desperate to fit in, doing her best to save face as best she can and, in doing so, she creates more complications in her unmanageable life. She is resourceful and courageous with lots of initiative, but in focussing on what after all are lightweight issues, she can seem shallow and self-obsessed. Regrettably her new friends, A.J. and Gabby, like Rachel in the first book, are not developed characters but exist only to provide a foil for Hannah’s thoughts and adventures.

     Despite the implausible plot, and a certain superficiality, Hannah Smart on a Slippery Slope is a rollicking read… entertaining, with astutely observed dialogue. For the most part Hannah, with her determination and resilience is a positive role-model, and her adventures will definitely appeal to those aged 9-12.


Aileen Wortley is a retired librarian living in Toronto, ON.

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.
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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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