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TALK by Kathe Koja


by Kathe Koja

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: March 10th, 2005
ISBN: 0-374-37382-5
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Although Kit, who surprises everyone by getting the lead in the school play, Talk, has never been on stage before, he knows deep in his gut that he can act. After all he’s been successfully impersonating a heterosexual for years. Kit’s fellow star is the school’s beautiful, talented and solipsistic queen bee, Lindsey, a multifaceted creation whose contemptuous, smoldering fury threatens to take over the story. As the play—concerning the hot-potato issue of political interrogation and the notion of truth—begins to take shape, Lindsey becomes romantically interested in the closeted Kit. The plot is further complicated when a group of variously motivated parents try to shut the play down, causing a ripple effect of confrontation and betrayal, making Kit’s largely unambiguous joy at the end of the story hard to buy. What Koja, who deftly handles several points of view and neatly juxtaposes scenes from the play with the narrative, does well is to let the reader clearly see her characters’ imperfections, while never losing sight of their essential humanity. (Fiction. 12+)