AMANDINE by Adele Griffin


Age Range: 14 & up
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A charismatic, dangerous girl with a flair for drama first attracts and then repels both protagonist and reader in this disquieting story. Dumpy Delia has just moved (again) and is starting midyear at a new high school. Fully aware of her social position (“This week was different from last, when the luster of ‘new girl’ had clung to me shiny as a wet lollipop. . . . Now, kids had figured out that I was nothing special”), Delia is pleased, if wary, when the one-of-a-kind Amandine singles her out for friendship. Together they enact “skits” about their schoolmates and vie with each other for honors in an informal contest to collect “Ugliest Things.” When Amandine lashes out cruelly at a third friend, however, Delia finds the strength to pull away from the relationship—but Amandine will not let her go without exacting revenge. Griffin (Witch Twins, p. 740, etc.) gets Delia just right: her smart, observer’s voice perfectly fits a girl who has sat on the sidelines for most of her life, including in her own home, where her parents clearly take out their disappointment in her with a sort of conscientious neglect (they feed her, for example, but never with them). The language at times approaches the sublime: as a volunteer at a nursing home, Delia “held up the listening end on the slow unraveling spools of other people’s lives.” Some of the characterization is a little incomplete and overtidy—a neighbor who is paid to pick Delia up after school suddenly becomes a surrogate mother to her, Delia herself develops a spine seemingly overnight—but the roots of Amandine’s viciousness, while clearly indicated by her own bizarre household, remain satisfyingly beyond our ken. Beautifully told and emotionally honest. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7868-0618-4
Page count: 220pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2001


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