Kirkus Reviews QR Code
OUT OF CONTROL by Norma Fox Mazer


by Norma Fox Mazer

Age Range: 12 - 17

Pub Date: April 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-688-10208-5
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

 Perhaps it wasn't exactly a rape, but Valerie knows that those few moments when she was cornered in the school corridor have changed her forever. The nightmares may fade, but she'll never regain her trust in a safe world. With great skill and compassion, Mazer endows the cast of this familiar drama with real individuality. Two of the boys are school leaders with home problems to fuel the anger they act out in mean-spirited pranks; the third--oversize, relatively nice Rollo (whose point of view prevails)--is a follower, thoughtlessly caught up in the excitement of his friends' misdeeds. The student grapevine is swift, adding embarrassment to Valerie's pain; and she gets little sympathy from a principal who thinks first of ``damage control.'' In time, she and some other girls begin to exchange similar experiences, helping her make the decision to write a letter, describing her trauma, to a local paper. Meanwhile, though the other boys persist in thinking the incident was ``no big deal,'' Rollo worries and tries to open communication with Valerie. Still, when she challenges him to imagine himself in her position, he simply doesn't get it--somehow, he persists, he would have been strong enough to escape. Accessible, but far from simplistic, Mazer's balanced depiction of both sides is a powerful demonstration of the evils of harassment and how its victims can assert themselves; it may even help harassers see the other side. (Fiction. 12-17)