OVERNIGHT by Adele Griffin


Age Range: 10 - 12
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A birthday slumber party becomes the undoing of a clique when one of the guests is abducted. Gray is a member of the Lucky Seven, a poisonous preteen clique presided over by Martha, who clearly (and viciously) enjoys the power accorded her by her popularity. Gray’s membership—indeed, everyone’s—depends on Martha’s whim. The slumber party has started off badly for Gray, though, as her mother, distracted by chemotherapy, has packed the wrong sleeping bag. When a confused woman appears at the birthday party, Gray is happy to convince herself that she is an aide sent to fetch her home and escapes the party—only to be taken on a terrifying ride to the woman’s house, from which she has no immediate means of escape. Meanwhile, at the party, Gray’s absence occasions a subtle but cataclysmic shift in the forces that hold the clique together; Martha is top dog no more. Shifting perspectives effectively capture the emotions and motivations of key members of the Lucky Seven, allowing the reader to examine the group’s dynamics. Griffin has a keen eye for the cruelty of the middle-schooler, but this fails where Amandine (2001) succeeded, due to its split narrative. When Gray leaves the party, the story splits into two pieces—Gray’s own bizarre adventure, and the power struggle within the clique—and Gray’s own development as an individual is not sufficiently paralleled by the development of the rest of the group to make the counterpoint between the two stories work. For a more effective dissection of the nature of cliques, try Amy Goldman Koss’s The Girls (2000). (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-399-23782-8
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2003


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