EQUINOX by Monte Killingsworth


Age Range: 12 - 14
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Autumn’s world is shaken when her father suggests they leave their cherished island refuge for the mainland. Harley and Autumn are fine in their low-key life removed from the hustle bustle of the big city where Mom spends her week at the Whale Museum. Killingsworth (Circle Within a Circle, 1994) lets the tide and barometer readings along with Autumn’s new journal become metaphors for the storm that shakes this 14-year-old at the intrusion of adult concerns into her child’s consciousness. Self-conscious prose and mental wanderings that mirror the action combine with an adult sensibility to create one of those stultifyingly precious non-stories. Valuable for the introduction of an adult lesbian relationship of a caring parent, unfortunately this presents no real sense of child. Wise, caring old friends like the art professor who lives in the lighthouse always with the exact right words and the child herself acts more like 40 than 14. Immediately on discovery of photos that make the facts about her mother clear, Autumn says, “I need to imagine them together, with friends and alone in the dark. I need to feel, somehow, their affection for each other and to know most of all that it does not include me.” The carefulness of the language and the artificiality of the sentiment are juxtaposed to create an appealing book for lovers of language who desire neither plot, character, nor reality. Some of the details, such as the making of paper and the improvised shower for the house without running water, help to carry readers past the musings. Any teen seeking refuge from life’s care who puts on a George Winston CD and curls up in a big chair with a lunch of French bread, cheese, and an apple will find a soul sister in Autumn. For the rest, the symbols are a little too obvious, the pace a little too slow and the sentiments a little too easy. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8050-6153-3
Page count: 120pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2001


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