Ages 12 up, 192 pages
from the flap:
Take One: Janine Gagnon sees herself as the only interesting person in her eighth-grade class. It's just Janine's luck to share a bus stop with Eric Gooch, a private–school dimwit whose only talent is watching the world through his video camera.
Take Two: Eric Gooch, his leg broken by a skiing accident, his heart broken by his parents' separation, finds himself living at home and going to public school. It's just Eric's luck to get a term assignment to observe Janine Gagnon, the tough boss–of–the–block who alienates the girls and scares off the boys.
Take Three: As Eric watches, Janine becomes a loner, spending hours exploring the nearby wetlands. When a fisherman threatens Janine, only Eric notices the change in her. Can Janine break the spell the fisherman casts, or is it up to Eric –– and his video camera –– to reveal what he knows?
Chilling, intimate, and intense, this story zooms in on the lives of two very different people and never backs off the action.
• I turned on my video camera and eased away from the rock. Hide me, I prayed. The fisherman's back stayed turned to me. Janine rounded the shore into the last light before the storm and came within camera shot. Her head was down as if it had been forced there. Where was Julia? Where was Katie? I didn't dare look away from the camera to try to spot them. I knew better than to leave and go for help. But I wanted to; I wanted help. I wanted my mother and Mrs. Gagnon and Mr. Gagnon and the mill lady. I wanted the cops.
• Jeff stuck his head in my room and said, “Guess what role Lionel has in The Wizard of Oz?” That's the play the high school was putting on; Julia was working backstage.
“Toto?” I was so funny I made myself laugh sometimes.
“Oh!” I hooted. “If he only had a brain!”
“But he's cute, isn't he?” Jeff wiggled his eyebrows at me; it's a talent we share. “I can tell you think so!”
“You're such a dweeb.”
from the reviewers:
"A suspenseful psychological drama of [Janine], an eighth–grade girl, and the boy who surreptitiously observes her for a spring term project…The author creates a compelling picture of Janine as a once popular girl, fallen from favor, and her simultaneous craving for solitude and attention…Karen Romano Young has once again created believable, likable characters and demonstrates a versatile range in her writing." –– Publishers Weekly
"Unflinching, well–told, rich in character" –– Kirkus Reviews
"Masterly precision…a compelling story about kids making real choices about how to live and what they want to become." –– Booklist
"Young explores a girl's insecurities in a coming–of–age novel that tackles issues of sexual perversity, lasting friendships, and personal and emotional growth." –– School Library Journal
about the artwork:
Nina Crews does beautiful photo collages, doesn't she? Check out her version of The Neighborhood Mother Goose, illustrated with photos of her neighborhood and neighbors in Brooklyn. I kept Nina's version of Mother Goose on my desk while I was writing Cobwebs, because she included such good pictures of Brooklyn's rooftops. And at a bookfair in New York, I met the little boy who plays Peter Piper in her book.
weird factsabout this book:
The scene at dancing school with the two boys who ran away really happened to me and another girl. Thank you anyway to dancing school for giving me a good setting for bizarre happenings –– and because I can waltz and cha–cha.
My pet count during this book:
two guinea pigs, a dog, and a cat
Mrs. Mugglewump (Queen Mother of all Wumps) and Queen Gina Regina (Queen of all Guineas), Yogi, and PuttPutt
Check out the Awards and Honors for this book.
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