December 07, 2006

A Predictable Betrayal

This book is a 2006 Cybil Award Nominee for YA Fiction.

Alex Fitzgerald is Barbara Belanger's shield; without him, she remembers that she's overweight and unpopular, that she has a port-colored birthmark covering the side of her face. Her mother abandoned her and her classmates have never been kind, but Alex rode into her life like a white knight one day on the playground, and everything has been better ever sense.

BJ wants to be a film director, and Alex longs to be a musician. BJ buys him his first guitar, and Alex and BJ's dad pool their funds to buy her a video camera. Alex's dream for music begins to come true, but the first cracks in his surface occur In the Garage, the day an admittedly gay boy auditions to be the band's lead singer. Abruptly, it tears the band apart.

What BJ doesn't sense about her best friend, Alex, their classmates pick up on easily. BJ's desperation to have female friends leads to her implausibly trusting Victoria and Rachel, two super-gorgeous creatures who convince her that maybe Alex isn't her friend, and that she should take his journal and read it and see just what he says about her. They're nosing for clues about him, and BJ is too self absorbed and miserable to realize this until it's too late. The predictable melodrama is kept to a minimum by the tersely written vignettes, but the conclusion of the novel is muddied and tragic and expected. The reader is left with BJ's questions and regrets, and not a little bewilderment as to where the adults were, and if in fact a murder has occurred in Alex's garage.

A painful and sobering story of betrayal, and another frustrating story in which a kid who is different pays with his life.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well that was fairly scathing. lol. I've got issues with it too. And in like, 12 more books I'll review it too! *sigh* so behind.

tanita s. davis said...

Oh dear -- I didn't mean to be too scathing, but if I read another "gay kid dies" book, I think I'll scream...