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PICTURE PERFECT by Elaine Marie Alphin


by Elaine Marie Alphin

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-8225-0535-5
Publisher: Carolrhoda

After 14-year-old Teddy Camden inexplicably disappears, his best friend, an abused boy who “zones out” and cannot remember whole sections of time, has to confront his personal demons as he tries to figure out what happened. Ian Slater, a gifted photographer, has a secret. His father, the “perfect principal” of Ian’s school and the leading candidate for superintendent, terrorizes his family. So complete is his domination, in fact, that Ian has internalized his father’s criticisms of him and struggles to be “the son [his father] deserves.” As Alphin deftly intensifies both the internal and external pressures on Ian, the reader becomes aware that he’s not only worried about Teddy’s safety, but that he will somehow jeopardize his father’s promotion. Ranging through time, the novel, told in the first person by an increasingly distraught protagonist, zips along, though the surprise ending is all but impossible to buy. Still, disturbing, engrossing, and thought-provoking. (Fiction. YA)