VIDEO by Karen Romano Young


Age Range: 13 & up
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Romano (The Beetle And Me, p. 638) uses a nonlinear narrative and multiple points of view to paint a challenging, perspicuous character portrait. Clinging stubbornly to the illusion that her elementary school clique hasn’t left her behind for new interests and alliances, tough, bossy Janine leads a solitary life, standing alone at the bus stop in the morning, shoehorning her way into conversations at school, and poking around a marshy old mill pond in her free time. For an assignment designed to sharpen observational skills, Janine opts to keep a record of herself—unaware that she is also being watched by Eric, a new classmate with the same assignment, a broken leg, and a ready video camera. Although the cast is large enough to cause occasional confusion, Romano’s teenagers reveal themselves without resorting to tedious self-analysis. Janine, whose utter lack of social skills will not win much sympathy from readers initially, comes to realize that there are other ways to communicate besides browbeating, and shows her mettle in a genuinely frightening climax, courageously (if foolishly) launching a furious verbal attack on a fisherman who has been masturbating openly at the isolated pond. In a compelling show of solidarity, neighbors and police race to back her up, led by Eric, who catches the whole encounter on tape. Unflinching, well told, rich in character. (Fiction. 13+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-688-16517-6
Page count: 155pp
Publisher: Greenwillow
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1999