In the Garage


Alberta Children's Book of the Year Nominee, 2007

Truth and ...

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Alberta Children's Book of the Year Nominee, 2007

Truth and rumour, fantasy and reality, love and prejudice.

I'm up here, in front of God, the priest, and the congregation listening to





of every person in front of me, unable to say a God-damn word about the guy who was my best friend for eight years. All I can do is stand silent, and think about how it all began.

Barbara Jean (BJ) Belanger has always suffered from low self-esteem: she has a portwine birthmark on her face, she feels overweight, and has repeatedly suffered the taunts of others her age for which she is a natural target, a victim. One of the very few who have treated her with respect, understanding and affection is Alex, who becomes her best friend. And what's ripping her apart as the story opens is that she knows she has betrayed him in the worst possible way. She didn't realize that he needed her support just as much as she needed his.

The real agents behind her betrayal are two other girls at school, Victoria and Rachel, gorgeous creatures who like flirting with Alex and who pretend that they want to be BJ's best friend. When Alex takes on a new member of his garage band, David, the balance of all their lives is upset, as Alex seems to display more affection for David than for her. Drifting away from her close friendship with Alex, BJ gets drawn into the glamour girls' orbit, and people start gossiping about Alex's close friendship with his new singer. Disaster comes when BJ is persuaded that she should steal Alex's journal of poems, in which he reveals the dark secret of his real feelings forDavid. Very quickly, BJ's life is turned upside down in a terrible moment in which the meanness of the world proves too much to bear.

Alma Fullerton brings fresh twists to the meaning of love and betrayal in her uncompromising portrayal of two lonely souls whose profound regard for each other isn't enough to save their friendship.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up Because of the scar on her face, BJ has always been a victim of ridicule and harassment. Shunned until the third grade, she is befriended by Alex, who becomes her best friend for the next eight years. Alternating between BJ's narration and Alex's journal, written in verse, Fullerton establishes the emotional connection between the two high schoolers while also creating a fast-paced plot that will lure teens, particularly reluctant readers. BJ's status as the social outcast starts to change when two of the most popular girls in school suddenly take an interest in her. By taking advantage of her insecurities about her relationship with Alex, they convince her to steal his journal. Going against her better instincts, BJ reads it. Shocked to learn that he is gay, she loses track of the book, and its contents quickly become public knowledge throughout the entire student body. At the same time, the questionable reason behind BJ's adoption into the popular girls' clique is revealed and she slips into an immediate depression. The novel climaxes as she attempts to vindicate herself only moments before Alex is attacked and killed by a mob of angry homophobes. While the plot and characters are somewhat exaggerated, the lessons about friendship and betrayal will resonate with many teens. Readers looking for a more realistic portrayal of struggles associated with coming out and sexual orientation should take a look at Kathe Koja's Talk (Farrar, 2005).-Lynn Rashid, Marriots Ridge High School, Marriotsville, MD

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780889953710
  • Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
  • Publication date: 10/12/2006
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 4.50 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Alma Fullerton was born in Ottawa, Ontario, into a military family who moved to Comox, B.C. when she was 12. After high school she spent a year in Germany where she met her navy husband Claude. She now resides in Midland, Ontario, with her husband and two daughters, juggling real life with her passion for youth literature.

Visit Alma's website at

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