KICKS by Janet Fitch


Age Range: 14 & up
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 More than anything in life, Laurie Greenspan, 15, wants to be a part of the swinging Los Angeles street scene with her wild friend Carla. But her mother, Lena, insists that Laurie grow up following proper Russian ways and refuses to understand American styles and mores. Laurie turns to Carla for the ``kicks'' she needs, and engages in what is fast becoming an orgy of drinks, shoplifting, and drugs; the girls get hooked up with much older bikers and are no match for these men. Laurie escapes from a party at the bikers' ranch but then must return with Lena to rescue Carla, who has overdosed. Later, Carla proves far from grateful, and alone, Laurie returns to the family fold. This is a first novel and it shows. The plot is essentially unbelievable--despite some realistic situations--and so are the characters. Laurie is a rather unlikable dimwit, and Carla is a Weetzie Bat (HarperCollins, 1989, etc.) wannabe with none of her charms. Lesser characters are stereotypes: Lena, the immigrant mama, nerdy brother Murray, and males who are sexually predatory louts and little more. It's true that teenagers can get sucked into bad situations, but Fitch makes her point in a story that is every bit as didactic as Go Ask Alice (S&S, 1971) but with an even sillier plot than that old clinker. (Fiction. 14+)

Pub Date: April 24th, 1995
ISBN: 0-8167-3504-0
Page count: 252pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1995