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QUIT IT by Marcia Byalick


by Marcia Byalick

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 2002
ISBN: 0-385-72997-9
Publisher: Delacorte

Byalick (It’s a Matter of Trust, 1995) pens a readable story about a young girl living with Tourette’s syndrome. While she doesn’t skimp on any unpleasant details, she doesn’t make it seem as if having the illness is the worst thing in the world either. The heroine of the piece is a likable Long Island seventh-grader named Carrie Kravetz. She has a pretty typical life—if you don’t count her involuntary head twitches, facial tics, and compulsive throat clearing and sniffing, not to mention the extraordinary lengths she must go to sometimes to suppress these outbursts. Yet in many ways Carrie’s life is like any other girl’s. She’s got loving parents, for one thing. By trying to hide their pain and annoyance about Carrie’s symptoms, however, they’re dishonest about their feelings and pretend the disease doesn’t exist. She also has a good relationship with her elder sister. Furthermore, Carrie excels in school drama and jazz dance (interestingly, Tourette’s seems to vanish altogether during these pursuits). Carrie also has a best friend, Clyde, who’s got his own problems (a terror of mosquitoes and the West Nile virus; this boy sees epidemic everywhere) yet who has steadfastly stood by Carrie through all of her tics over the years. Then Rebecca, a new girl in school, enters Carrie’s sphere. The two girls grow close right away, but at the expense of Clyde’s friendship, since Rebecca wants nothing to do with him. Though the three are all part of the “Lunch Bunch” at school, three’s a crowd and the new girl’s monopoly of Carrie drives a wedge between the two former best friends. How this is all resolved—and how Carrie gets her parents to listen to her and accept her, through the offices of a kind, understanding teacher—makes for thought-provoking and satisfying reading. A helpful list of FAQs and answers about Tourette’s syndrome are appended. (Fiction. 8-12)