SUMMERSPELL by Jean Thesman


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Thesman (Nothing Grows Here, 1994, etc.) paints a convincing picture of a young girl running scared from a life that has suddenly turned chaotic. Jocelyn grew up in a safe, loving home with her grandparents and her great-aunt; they spent summers together at the remote lakeside cabin, Summerspell. All that has changed; now living with her half-sister and her overbearing, fundamentalist brother-in-law, Jocelyn runs away when he makes sexual advances toward her. She waits at Summerspell until her great-aunt can regain custody of her, but doesn't tell her the whole story. Her secrecy proves misguided; it takes a tragedy to make her understand that some secrets ""should be shouted at ever street corner until someone listens."" There are contrived twists in the plot, but the characters are well-drawn and believable, and the budding relationship between Jocelyn and her classmate, Bally, who has followed her to Summerspell, is nicely understated. The setting plays an important role--the cabin becomes an almost magical place, full of bittersweet memories of happier times. A solid novel about speaking up.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
Page count: 169pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster