Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
A blended family has its share of highs and lows for fifteen-year-old Jes as she bitterly experiences household changes. Her mother just remarried and Cal, her stepfather, is moving into the house with his daughter. Jes is displaced to the smaller bedroom and is overshadowed by Angela's waysan orderly room, a macrobiotic diet, exercise, and beauty. After Jes settles in her new room, the plans begin to change with the sudden announcement that Jes's mother is expecting a baby. With no extra bedrooms to spare, Jes will be back in her original bedroom, sharing it with Angela when the baby arrives. Meanwhile, Jes's friendship with Dell and Sam shifts. Jes and Dell's relationship changes as Dell focuses her attention on her boyfriend. Sam, on the other hand, is beginning to look at Jes more romantically but Jes worries whether the romance will destroy her comfortable friendship with him. Besides the shifts in the relationships, the holidays bring about changes in the traditions as Jes's dad joins the household for dinner. Not long after, Angela's mother pays a visit with plans to move back into town and have Angela live with her. In this story, a sequel to Losing Forever, Jes adjusts to the ongoing changes in her life with family and friends.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up
High school junior Jes is trying hard to be optimistic about the changes in her life: her mom's remarriage to well-meaning Cal; her suddenly confusing relationship with longtime friend Sam; her friend Dell's obsession with a new boyfriend; and sharing living space with Angela, her impossibly beautiful stepsister. She appreciates the insights she gains from Mr. Truelove, her psychology teacher, and gets to work on his assignment of a "life resumé" as she sorts through her feelings about her mother's pregnancy and her changing relationships. Friesen takes standard teen novel fare and freshens it up with an interesting, realistic cast of characters, especially Jes, who is both a protagonist readers will relate to and a witty narrator. Those who read Losing Forever (Kids Can, 2002) will be eager enough for this enjoyable sequel to look past the unattractive cover, but otherwise it may require hand selling, which it deserves.
Laurie SlagenwhiteCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Readers who wondered what happened next to the fractured family in Friesen's Losing Forever (2002) will be pleased to pick up with their lives. Narrator Jes still struggles with her feelings as she copes with her mom's unexpected pregnancy, too-perfect step-sister Angela, best friend Dell's unhealthy choices and her own (not particularly comfortable) budding relationship with the boy next door. Readers unfamiliar with Jes's world may feel at a loss initially, but Friesen does a good job of reprising Jes's history and introducing all the players. While the narration is snappy and occasionally snarky, it sometimes seems like there is more problem than novel. There's a divorcing psychology teacher who breaks down in class, an unexpected introduction to her dad's new love interest (and her two kids) on Christmas day, Dell's near rape and Angela's confession of surviving a similar attack, as well as a revelation about Angela's parentage. The climactic scene in the hospital brings the core group together, and while their rapprochement is somewhat predictable, it's definitely a feel-good moment. Realistic and engaging. (Fiction. 12-15)