In her ""Slam Book,"" Anna's ninth-grade friends write comments about each other (""What a hunk. . .Gorgeous. . .Stuck up"";...



In her ""Slam Book,"" Anna's ninth-grade friends write comments about each other (""What a hunk. . .Gorgeous. . .Stuck up""; ""She isn't playing with a full deck""; ""Too perfect""). But what begins as Anna's ""key to popularity"" degenerates into a creel, manipulative game and leads to tragedy. It's cousin Peggy at a family picnic--a picnic which demonstrates what a strong, loving family Anna has--who makes the suggestion. At first the book, with its hint of forbidden danger, is fun; it does keep Anna at the center of attention. She ignores the cruelty that soon emerges, especially from rich, disturbed Paige, who disguises her handwriting and uses the book to break up Casey and Gooz. Paige's plan misfires (Gooz turns to Anna); more disguised messages tempt the butt of class wit, Cheryl, with a boyfriend. Trying to get even with Paige, Anna writes Cheryl a note that sends her to a rejection by Paige; Cheryl commits suicide, and the girls are left to face the consequences of their actions. Martin writes smoothly, with good understanding of this age group and its concerns. Her portraits of the several families of Anna and her friends are broad but ring true and provide contrasts useful to the story--Randy, black, has the other supportive home; Jessie is surviving a bad situation; Paige may not. Anna won't suffer unduly from her thoughtlessness, but she has learned a lesson--not quite fair, perhaps, but realistic. Like Martin's other novels, this is sure to engage readers.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1987


Page Count: 154

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1987