Books by Marcia Byalick

QUIT IT by Marcia Byalick
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 10, 2002

Byalick (It's a Matter of Trust, 1995) pens a readable story about a young girl living with Tourette's syndrome. While she doesn't skimp on any unpleasant details, she doesn't make it seem as if having the illness is the worst thing in the world either. The heroine of the piece is a likable Long Island seventh-grader named Carrie Kravetz. She has a pretty typical life—if you don't count her involuntary head twitches, facial tics, and compulsive throat clearing and sniffing, not to mention the extraordinary lengths she must go to sometimes to suppress these outbursts. Yet in many ways Carrie's life is like any other girl's. She's got loving parents, for one thing. By trying to hide their pain and annoyance about Carrie's symptoms, however, they're dishonest about their feelings and pretend the disease doesn't exist. She also has a good relationship with her elder sister. Furthermore, Carrie excels in school drama and jazz dance (interestingly, Tourette's seems to vanish altogether during these pursuits). Carrie also has a best friend, Clyde, who's got his own problems (a terror of mosquitoes and the West Nile virus; this boy sees epidemic everywhere) yet who has steadfastly stood by Carrie through all of her tics over the years. Then Rebecca, a new girl in school, enters Carrie's sphere. The two girls grow close right away, but at the expense of Clyde's friendship, since Rebecca wants nothing to do with him. Though the three are all part of the "Lunch Bunch" at school, three's a crowd and the new girl's monopoly of Carrie drives a wedge between the two former best friends. How this is all resolved—and how Carrie gets her parents to listen to her and accept her, through the offices of a kind, understanding teacher—makes for thought-provoking and satisfying reading. A helpful list of FAQs and answers about Tourette's syndrome are appended. (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
IT'S A MATTER OF TRUST by Marcia Byalick
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Nov. 1, 1995

When her father, a high-level state employee, is caught accepting bribes and kickbacks, Erika finds her secure suburban life derailed. She's a hot topic of school gossip, and her family moves in with relatives to avoid intrusive reporters. Her grades plummet, and she can't drum up any enthusiasm for the upcoming tennis championships, even though she's the best player on the team. Worst of all, she's angry at her father; to get even with him, Erika cheats in a tennis game by calling a ball out that is in. The plot is carefully worked out in this competently written first novel, and many characters, particularly Erika's grandmother, stand out as memorable individuals. Erika, though, painted as the average American teenager, comes across as bland; her personality is frequently overwhelmed by the sheer drama of the situation she faces. Nevertheless, Byalick raises provocative questions and provides no easy answers. (Fiction. 12+) Read full book review >