A 17-year-old stand-up comic, Becky gets involved with a guy she meets at a comedy club. "Becky's growing awareness that her relationship isn't `intense' but, instead, unhealthy is developed well," according to PW. Ages 14-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2003: Becky, age 17, wants to be a stand-up comic, and she practices her routines faithfully, performing wherever she can. At one of her gigs in her hometown of San Francisco she meets a handsome aspiring comic named Kip. Becky has always felt "invisible" around boys, especially in contrast to her best friend Abby, so when Kip comes calling she basks in his attention. At first she is sure they are soul mates; they are with each other constantly, though Abby and Becky's mother both disapprove of the relationship's intensity. Indeed, Kip soon turns from being loving to being controlling, and he even hurts Becky physically, when he is fearful of losing her. He is distraught each time, and swears it will never happen again; but it does, and in the end Becky needs to be rescued from his violent attack by Abby and a protective drag queen who is a family friend. Therapy for both Becky and Kip and a restraining order are the result; and Becky, whose life has been shaken as if an earthquake had occurred, heads off to college, sadder and wiser. This all-too-realistic look at abuse attempts to give both Becky's and Kip's perspectives; Becky narrates, but entries from Kip's journals are interspersed in the text, along with Becky's "Notes to Self." One-liners from comedy routines (e.g., "If a cannibal ate a clown, would it taste funny?") lighten the mood somewhat before it turns darkly disturbing in the second half of the book. As Tashjian (author of The Gospel According to Larry and other YA novels) points out in an afterword, she wanted to show both sides, and she succeeds in conveying what makes Kip initially attractive to Beckyas well as his genuine anguish over his actions. (The addition of some abuse hotline numbers might have been helpful, however.) This novel about dating violence and how a relationship can go wrong will be an important eye-opener for some readers. KLIATT Codes: SRecommended for senior high school students. 2003, Henry Holt, 248p., Ages 15 to 18.
I was getting boyfriend advice-good boyfriend advice-from a six-foot-two-inch man with a shag and a miniskirt. And this was the most normal conversation I'd had all day. Becky, oldest child of an affluent, loving family, wants to be a comedian. While performing at an open mike night, she meets Kip and is instantly drawn to him. She basks in his adoration after years of feeling invisible to boys, but is baffled as things slowly turn sour and Kip becomes increasingly controlling. As their relationship slowly devolves into violence, Becky must find the strength to break away, while Kip struggles to control the brutality inside him. A fairly well-constructed story with main characters that mostly resist stereotype, Tashjian's novel succeeds where it breaks away from the norm. Entries from Becky's ever-present notebook and Kip's diaries (kept on paper towel rolls) offer deeper insight into the thoughts of both parties than is offered in the main body of the story and also work to visually separate chapters. The violence builds slowly and realistically, allowing readers to understand how Becky could get into such a situation and have trouble getting back out. A number of offbeat elements-Becky's love of comedy and old movies, her father's nontraditional career, her "aunt" Delilah the drag queen-keep a dark subject from becoming overwhelming. Becky and Kip do make love, but there is almost no strong language and the violence is deftly handled, making this book highly recommended for school and public libraries. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2003,Henry Holt, 249p,
Gr 8 Up-Becky seems to have it all-she's moderately successful in her forays on the stages of local open mike night improv clubs, she has a loving family, and the best friend a 17-year-old could want. But her life becomes exponentially better when she meets the perfect yang for her yin, Kip Costello, a handsome, confident senior who seems to pull off his comedy routine without a sweat. The two are soon inseparable, leaving Becky little time for polishing her routines, for her part-time jobs and schoolwork, and, most importantly, for her family and friends. The balancing act gets even more difficult when she finds she must weigh every word so as not to spark Kip's anger. The second time he hurts her, Becky ends up in the hospital and Kip ends up in handcuffs. Readers will suspect his problem long before Becky does, but Tashjian allows readers to feel Becky's overpowering happiness and blindness to Kip's faults as they empathize with his overwhelming fear of losing control. Other well-written titles on dating abuse include Sarah Dessen's Dreamland (Viking, 2000) and Alex Flinn's Breathing Underwater (HarperCollins, 2001).-Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Senior Becky Martin, who has a loving family, a terrific best friend, and good grades, is slowly making a place for herself in San Francisco's stand-up comedy scene. But she hasn't felt successful in dating until she meets Kip, another aspiring comic. In an absorbing first-person narrative, Becky describes her relationship with Kip in which he gradually changes from adoring her to becoming controlling and jealous, and then hurting her physically as well as emotionally. Pages from Kip's journal reveal that his father, now gone, had been abusive and that Kip feels like a loser and hates himself for hurting Becky. Details such as Becky's increasing distance from friends and family ring true, although it may still be hard for readers to understand why someone so seemingly well-loved at home feels so inadequate. While not quite as insightful as Sarah Dessen's Dreamland (2000), this should find a place in all libraries that serve teens, many of whom will recognize aspects of their own relationships in Becky and Kip's. (Fiction. YA)