Fifteen-year-old Adrien lives with the constant thought of her own death. Nearly killed by a brain aneurysm two summers ago, Adrien and her parents always fear "the Big One," a subsequent attack that her weakened blood vessels will not endure. In part to escape the smothering worry of her parents, Adrien goes to work at a summer camp run by her Aunt Erin, a brusque taskmaster who spares Adrien no pity for her delicate health. Arriving at the camp, Adrien is captivated by the mystical sight of beautiful spirit-girls dancing above the water on the lake who appear only to Adrien. Then Adrien meets Paul, an intense boy with a sixth sense, who has dreamed of his own death for two yearsmysterious dreams in which Adrien herself plays the role of savior. The details of the plot are subordinate to the beauty of Goobie's poetic writing. Her richly sensuous descriptions evoke alternating shivers of fear and excitement, transforming the grounds of a summer camp into a magical intersection between this world and the world beyond death. As Adrien becomes drawn increasingly into the story of the five spirit-girls, she learns a sad and awful truth about her crusty aunt. At the same time, Adrien finds herself helplessly drawn to Paulthe description of their first kiss will leave readers breathless! Adrien grows dramatically over the two-week period covered in the story, leaving behind her morbid self-absorption to care about living fully, in the mood of the adventurous spirit-girls. On the surface, this book is an entertaining adolescent read with well-explored supernatural and romantic elements. Nevertheless, the deeper message, the whole-hearted grasping of love and life, surely willresonate with many teens. The exhilarating loveliness of Goobie's writing also will enchant adults looking for a book to stir the heart and imagination. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2000, Orca, 224p, . Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Diane Masla SOURCE: VOYA, April 2001 (Vol. 24, No.1)
Every year, an elite group of students called the Shadow Club choose a lottery "winner" from among the student body. While performing duties specified by this club, the lottery winner is subsequently shunned by the remainder of the student body in accordance with tradition. This year's winner (or victim) is Sally Hanson, a seemingly average tenth grader whose significance to the club lies in her past. Beth Goobie reveals a society where fear and conformity rule the masses. This is today's high school taken to an entirely new level. In identifying Sally's dilemma, readers will find themselves in Sally's shoes, questioning what they would, or would not do in her situation. In any case, the end of the story leaves readers empowered and hopeful that maybe they too could take the risk of being themselves to stand up for what is right. 2002, Orca Book, 264 pp.,
Two years ago, 15-year-old Adrien suffered a brain aneurysm that nearly took her life. Painfully aware that another aneurysm could occur at any time, Adrien has been angry and depressed. At the invitation of her Aunt Erin, she has come from Saskatoon to spend the summer helping out at the camp Erin runs. There she sees the spirits of five young dead women hovering over the lake, spirits somehow connected to a secret in her aunt's past. At camp Adrien also meets Paul, who first befriends her and then becomes her first boyfriend. Paul has been dreaming of what he believes is his own rapidly approaching death, and it's somehow connected with Adrien. Events come to a head when one of the counselors, Connor, starts to dangerously harass Adrien, because she has stood up to his bullying tactics. Connor and Adrien meet at night at the lake, where Adrien has a vision that reveals to her how the spirit girls died, and Paul and Adrien save each other from harm. The events in this Canadian novel take place over just a few weeks, but Adrien grows and changes believably over this eventful span of time. Like the mayflies that are everywhere at camp, she learns to appreciate whatever time she has left to her (the mayflies are a metaphor the author uses again and again). This is a dark but gripping story, with a lot going on to draw in readers, from Adrien and Paul's mystical visions to the aunt's secret, Connor's cruelty, first love, the threat of death, the nature of friendship, and more. There's lots to chew on here for thoughtful readers, and a brave and wisecracking if somewhat morbid protagonist to root for. (The book has a bit of profanity and some talk of sex, for those who need to know.) KLIATTCodes: JSRecommended for junior and senior high school students. 2000, Orca, 204p, $16.95. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; March 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 2)
Gr 8 Up-Fifteen-year-old Adrien barely survived a brain aneurysm two years earlier, and is haunted by the fact that she could die from another one at any time. In fact, issues of life and death completely fill her world at Camp Lakeshore, owned and operated by her Aunt Erin, a woman with a haunted past of her own. Adrien bonds with Paul, a teen who is convinced that he has dreamt of his own death and that it will happen on his next birthday. She also seems to be experiencing events in the lives of five girls, a group of campers who died long ago in a tragic accident. Anyone who ever spent time at a summer camp will recognize Camp Lakeshore, with its bad T-shirts, cliques, bullies, and time-honored rituals. Adrien is a sympathetic and believable character: intelligent, stubborn, funny, filled with confusion and doubt, but ultimately open to the possibility that she just might have a future after all. This could have been a terribly bleak and depressing book, but it isn't. Its engaging characters, realistic setting, and upbeat ending will satisfy teen readers.-Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"Full of magic realism and beautifully written."
"Powerful, sensual, thought-provoking and most of all, refreshingly original. Read it and let your imagination fly free."
"Assured and flexible. She masters both edgy, abbreviated repartee of teenagers and a lyrical prose style for describing mystical experience."
"Offers remarkable insight and raw, true emotion for readers who find themselves grappling with more than the usual load of teen troubles."
"The book can rightfully be called inspirational."
"The aura of mystery and romance is aptly melded to the heady joys and secrets of summer camp."
"This book is good. Very, very good. Buy it, read it, recommend it. As a general rule, I make very sparing use of the 'Excellent' rating, however, Goobie's latest young adult offering deserves no less."
"Beth Goobie unites her intense poetic ability with a fascinating plot that compels the reader to love, hate, and relate to each of the characters as they grow and change."
"Besides a good read, there is much to explore in this novel . . ."
"Masterfully written and a great read."
"Goobie uses poetic language and well-realized characterization in this gripping story to recreate the intensity with which a teen lives life and...comes to terms with the possibility of death."