A high school in Canada provides the setting for tales of misfits and outsiders who appear in each other's stories throughout this collection. Chan's characterizations aren't deep, and her prose is clichÃ¢d as she strains for credible teenagers' voices, but once readers are acquainted with the cast of the first story, they'll want to read the rest. In ""Elly, Nell and Eleanor,"" heartbreaking disappointment comes to a girl whose old-fashioned, rigid, and apparently mentally unbalanced mother drives her husband--Elly's sole ally--away. Another story focuses on a nasty, manipulative girl who pretends to be friends with a popular and beautiful girl in the school; ""Alternative Measures"" goes inside the head of a bullying troublemaker who is doing community service for his misdeeds and is left to wonder why he was shown apparent kindness by a girl he loved to distress and annoy. The strongest story involves Andy Li, a model student who pays filial allegiance to his short-tempered father, a man who has struggled in this new country after a hard life in Hong Kong. The layers of his rich family life and the turning point in his own development make the story a standout in an otherwise serviceable collection.
Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997
Page Count: 119
Publisher: "Kids Can Press (85 River Rock Dr., Buffalo, NY 14207)"