HANG ON IN THERE, SHELLEY by Kate Saksena

HANG ON IN THERE, SHELLEY

Age Range: 12 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ostensibly about Shelley’s trying to deal with school bullies and a mother with a drinking problem, this epistolary novel consists of Shelley’s letters to rock star Ziggy and his postcards in return. The dialogue and word choice are unlikely, as is the idea of a rock star reading and responding to his fan mail. Shelley’s Caribbean and African heritage are stated but not reflected in this British import. Ignoring the stilted dialogue, it’s possible to be caught up in Shelley’s battle with the bully at school as well as hoping that Mum will be able to stay off drink and stop hitting her children. Shelley protects her mother from outsiders, but there are risks to little brother Jake. Many loving adults available to the children remain curiously distanced until Shelley is expelled for fighting. Dad comes righteously to her aid, but why he is absent in the face of the mother’s downward spiral is even more inexplicable. Saksena offers hope that things will get better and portrays the ups and downs of living with an alcoholic, but in the whole, this is simply unrealistic. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-58234-822-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2003