WHISTLE ME HOME by Barbara Wersba


Age Range: 13 & up
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 An unusual look at love from Wersba (You'll Never Guess the End, 1992, etc.), whose upbeat, idiosyncratic explorations of happily-ever-after in such novels as Fat, A Love Story (1987, o.p.) finds a more sorrowful path here. Noli, a skinny, boyish girl, constantly fights with her mother, who would like her to appear more feminine. When angelic- looking, super-athletic, erudite TJ enrolls in her school, Noli is surprised at his bestowal of near-instant friendship on her. Their bond runs deep: He is forthright about his love for her, and about his disapproval of her budding alcoholism. Noli wants their relationship to be more physical, but TJ seems content, and only when an attempt to seduce him fails does she allow herself to know the truth: TJ is gay, and is--under parental pressure- -attempting to lead a straight life. Their split is violent and permanent: Several months later, Noli has a careful, cordial encounter with TJ, who longs to remain friends, but she cannot- -hers is a passionate love, not a platonic one. The encompassing emotions that complicate Noli's feelings for TJ run true, even while aspects of this graceful story are more burdensome than enlightening. Noli needs no drinking problems nor family troubles in her background to fall in love with TJ; readers will love him, too, even as they realize the reason he holds himself gently aloof. This isn't a perfect story, but its characters are perfectly human, and Wersba makes poetry of the arrival of unbidden love. (Fiction. 13+)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-8050-4850-2
Page count: 108pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1997


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