DANGER GAME by Julie Lawson


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Tragedy narrowly misses three troubled teenagers as they help one another in a melodramatic tale from the author of Dragon's Pearl (1993). The three meet at a vacation spot on Vancouver Island's southern coast: Beth, feeling betrayed because Diggon, longtime friend and her first boyfriend, has not kept in touch; Diggon, terrorized and full of self-loathing after watching schoolmates beat a passerby, possibly to death; and Chelsea, Beth's cousin, a pyromaniac who has been driven by sexual abuse to fold herself up inside like the origami cranes she creates. The three begin to share their secrets on an outing to a remote cove; caught by changing weather, they barely make it back to Beth's house alive, where Chelsea learns that her abuser and her mother are now married. Only Beth's intervention prevents her fiery suicide. Lawson switches between points of view, so that readers always know more than the characters; it effectively builds tension, although it also gives the story a crowded feel--as if the teenagers must somehow compete for the role of protagonist. The adult cast is a realistic mixture of helpers and villains and the plot's resolution is conventional (Diggon goes home to face the music; Chelsea's would-be stepfather faces trial) but not contrived. Expertly told.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
Page count: 213pp
Publisher: "Little, Brown"