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I CAN’T TELL YOU by Hillary Frank


by Hillary Frank

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 27th, 2004
ISBN: 0-618-41202-6
Publisher: Graphia

A romance in e-mail messages, passed notes, essays, and notice-board conversations. College freshman Jake stops speaking after an enormous fight with his roommate. He won’t speak even to Xandra, whom he adores. Despite his sexual experience, he has never found romance with a female friend and his courtship of Xandra charms with its adolescent awkwardness. Jake and Xandra mark their friendship with written messages, friendly punches hard enough to leave bruises, catsup smeared in one another’s hair, and terrible puns. But neither is able to speak—or write—of their growing romantic attachment. Frustrated by the stalled relationship, Xandra hooks up with a stranger. Jake’s frustrating and silent semester comes to a satisfying conclusion that provides no easy answers or complete romantic closure and the method by which Jake regains speech is powerfully simple. The carefully constructed, seemingly accidental nature of Jake and Xandra’s story combines the banal with the amateur philosophizing of college, and invites interesting comparisons between sexual sophistication and real understanding of how to relate with others. Compelling. (Fiction. YA)