Kirkus Reviews QR Code
BORROWED LIGHT by Anna Fienberg


by Anna Fienberg

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: June 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-385-32758-7
Publisher: Delacorte

In lyrical prose Fienberg documents the inner contemplations of a shy Australian girl, Callisto, during her turbulent 16th year. Her grandmother, Ruth, is a well-known astrophysicist, and Callisto follows her fascination with astronomy. Callisto, named after one of Jupiter’s moons, sees herself as one who borrows light from people who, as stars, make their own. However, not many around her emit much light. Her mother embroils herself in the spirit world, leading meditation sessions with “sad ladies,” as Callisto’s five-year-old brother Jeremy describes them. Her father spends most of his time on trips to South Africa to buy art. Callisto becomes the major caregiver for Jeremy. She finally finds popularity when she attracts a handsome but shallow surfer boyfriend, Tim, and quickly becomes pregnant. With everyone else indifferent, Callisto arranges for her own abortion. Her mother’s neglect forces her to take Jeremy to the abortion clinic, where he disappears as she undergoes the operation. The ensuing family fight exposes many secrets, explains much that Callisto has suffered, and helps her learn to make her own light with her new boyfriend, Robert, a science major whom she truly loves. Slow-moving but eventually powerful, this is a meditation for more intellectually inclined young readers. (Fiction. YA)