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Catherine Dunphy.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer & Co., 1990.
159pp., paper, $4.95.
ISBN 1-55028-255-7. cloth, $16.95. ISBN 1-55028-253-0. CIP.

Grades 5 and up / Ages 10 and up

Reviewed by Anne Louise Mahoney.

Volume 19 Number 2
1991 March

Everybody who's watched the Degrassi kids grow up knows Caitlin Ryan to be self-assured, pretty and willing to take a stand. In the novel Caitlin, the latest in the "Degrassi" series, she is all this and more.

As editor of the school newspaper, Caitlin wants to cover important issues such as the quality of the drinking water, but everyone else is more interested in school sweatshirts and the upcoming dance. Feeling frustrated and alone, Caitlin joins an anti-nuclear group. At last she has found people who are committed to solving the world's problems! But as the story unfolds, we see the group for what they really are - all talk, no action. Though it is a painful lesson to learn, Caitlin realizes that she must take responsibility for improving her world herself and that this must be balanced with other aspects of her life.

Caitlin is a well - rounded character - as well as having strong points, she can be insecure, lonely and ill at ease socially. The story moves along quickly, and the plot and theme work well together. Like the TV series, the novel is a little heavy on the morals, but is still a good read for Degrassi fans as well as for the uninitiated. This book could also be a springboard for classroom discussion on a variety of subjects, such as nuclear power (the book is packed with information on this), the role of the press, the ability of young people to effect change, and civil disobedience.

Anne Louise Mahoney, Ottawa, ON.
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