Define

Define "Normal"

4.5 182
by Julie Anne Peters
     
 

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Now in its fourth hardcover printing, Define "Normal" has become a word-of-mouth phenomenon. This is a thoughtful, wry story about two girls--a "punk" and a "priss"--who find themselves facing each other in a peer-counseling program, and discover that they have some surprising things in common. A brand-new reading-group guide written by the author is included in the… See more details below

Overview

Now in its fourth hardcover printing, Define "Normal" has become a word-of-mouth phenomenon. This is a thoughtful, wry story about two girls--a "punk" and a "priss"--who find themselves facing each other in a peer-counseling program, and discover that they have some surprising things in common. A brand-new reading-group guide written by the author is included in the back of this paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this middle-school drama, two seeming opposites become friends and discover they are not such opposites after all. Peters (How Do You Spell G-E-E-K?) does little to update this well-trod theme, and while there are touching moments in her book, it's generally bland. Nerdy Antonia is assigned to peer-counsel Jazz, whom Antonia assumes is "hopeless. A punker. A druggie. A gang hanger." After a few agonizing sessions, Antonia begins to realize how much she needs someone to talk to. Her dad has split (as readers learn midway through), her mom's so depressed she can't get out of bed and Antonia's overwhelmed with responsibility and pain. Not only does Jazz literally intervene to get her family back on the road to recovery, but by offering her friendship, Antonia learns to depend on someone besides herself. In turn, she helps Jazz learn to talk to her parents and to compromise on arguments without compromising herself. They both learn that judging people by their outside appearance can be misleading. Occasionally, Peters captures a feeling perfectly, like Antonia's loneliness. "That's how I feel, I thought. Like a star...," she says, looking at the sky. "Distant. Detached. Blinking. On-off. On-off." Mostly, though, the exposition depends more on telling than showing. Ages 8-12. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
When Straight 'A' student Antonia Dillon agreed to become a peer counselor at Oberon Middle School, she expected to assist fellow students with their usual problems--boy trouble, school, parents, more boy trouble. Antonia certainly didn't expect to be stuck counseling Jasmine "Jazz" Luther, a girl with a reputation as a punker, druggie, and gang-banger. It's not as if Antonia didn't have enough to worry about in her own home, what with an absent father, two younger brothers, and a mother who stays in bed for most of each day, too depressed to venture outdoors. Against all odds, Antonia and Jazz strike up an improbable friendship. Antonia is amazed to learn that Jazz lives in a mansion and has a passion for playing classical piano. When Antonia's mother breaks down completely and her family is on the verge of being shattered, roles are reversed and it is Jazz who acts as counselor to Antonia. Toward the end of this fast and highly readable novel, both girls are on the brink of an enduring friendship, and each has learned a valuable lesson in tolerance. 2000, Little Brown, Ages 10 to 14, $14.95. Reviewer: Christopher Moning
VOYA
At first glance, Antonia and Jazz could not be more different. Antonia follows the rules, studies hard, and struggles to keep her family together. Jazz is outspoken, pierced, and punk. Assigned to work with each other in peer counseling sessions, neither girl is thrilled with the prospect. During their sessions, Antonia learns more about Jazz's rebellious streak against her controlling mother while Jazz realizes that Antonia's mother is slipping into a deep depression. This process of discovery allows the girls to become friends, as each secretly is fascinated by the other's life. Jazz helps Antonia to accept assistance from adults when her mother finally needs to be hospitalized. When Jazz gives up playing the piano, something she loves dearly, to spite her mother, Antonia guides her in deciding what is important. Peters develops clear themes herelook beneath the surface for the real person, appearances may not reflect reality, and everyone has difficulties. Both Antonia and Jazz are welldeveloped protagonists with sympathetic supporting characters. The ending is a hopeful one in which the young women learn to accept and help each other. Readers who are looking for believable characters and a good story about friendship, being different, and growing wiser will appreciate Define "Normal". VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2000, Little Brown, Ages 12 to 15, 208p, $14.95. Reviewer: Judy Sasges
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-When Antonia is assigned to Jazz as a peer counselor, she figures there is no way she can help this tattooed, pierced, incorrigible girl. They are complete opposites. Antonia is a straight-A student whose parents are divorced and she is struggling to keep what's left of her family together as her mother battles depression. Jazz's family is wealthy and seemingly perfect. As they continue through the 15 hours of peer counseling, it becomes clear that both girls have issues they need to work through. They go from wary classmates to friends who support and help one another. As Antonia's mother is hospitalized for her depression, Jazz battles her own mother's need to control by quitting the one thing she loves most-playing classical piano. Both girls deal with their losses by finding new ways to look at their problems and to resume life as "normally" as possible. This believable book is well written and readers will feel that they know both Jazz and Antonia, and they will want to see them triumph over the frustrations in their lives.-Kimberly A. Ault, Lewisburg Area High School, PA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316046404
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
11/16/2008
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
138,386
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
12 - 15 Years

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