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BookList:

Grades 7-12 Canadian author Phillips’ first novel is told in free verse and features the perspectives of four different high-school students. Two (Tricia and Kyle) are traditionally troubled and vulnerable teens; one (Miguel) is a political refugee; and the fourth (Natalie, the obligatory new girl in school) is trouble. Having been bounced from school to school, Natalie is a schemer who delights in manipulating the lives of others, regardless of the cost. All four teens tell their own stories in their first-person voices. Added to these are the voices of two teachers: Ms. Nishi, a sympathetic guidance counselor, and Mrs. Farr, a burned-out English teacher whose assignments are the catalyst for many of the kids’ poems. There’s not much that’s new here, but the free-verse voices are all nicely handled; the teens are engaging—though occasionally one-dimensional—characters; and Natalie’s machinations are compelling. — Cart, Michael (Reviewed 10-15-2010) (Booklist, vol 107, number 4, p59)

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