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Norah McClintock
Richmond Hill (Ont.), Scholastic Canada, 1991. 190pp, paper, $3.95
ISBN 0-590-73659-0. CIP

Grades 6 to 9/Ages 11 to 14
Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson.

Volume 19 Number 4
1991 September

Montrealers Brynn Laurendeau, sixteen, Chloe Yan, fifteen, and Phoebe Torrence, thirteen, all have one thing in common - their cocktail waitress mother Sheila. Death, desertion and divorce account for their respective fathers. While the title suggests that the book's central theme and the girls' major problem may be coping with yet another stepfather, that issue remains secondary to the girls' more immediate personal concerns.

Brynn, the brain, has subordinated a social life to studies in order to achieve her goal of attending university on a scholarship. Handsome Evan O'Neill's unsought attentions not only conflict with Brynn's study schedule but also threaten Brynn's longtime friendship with Edie, Evan's immediate ex-girlfriend.

Chloe is both pursuing and being pursued. While attempting to solidify her relationship with tough guy Shadd, Chloe is also rejecting the unwanted interest of Philemon, a recent Chinese immigrant. Chloe rejects Philemon partly because he is a "dork" and partly because seeing him reminds her that she is half Chinese and not part of the visible majority. An altercation in a Chinese restaurant, involving Chloe, Shadd, two friends and the owner, brings Chloe into direct contact with her mother's newest boyfriend, policeman Louis Levesque.

Finally, pudgy Phoebe, the frequent butt of half-sister Chloe's cruel verbal jabs, decides that she is going to attend the school's spring dance even "if it kills me." And it almost does, for, in order to lose weight, Phoebe buys a diet product and adopts some bulimic behaviours. The book's conclusion, while not providing complete closure, does suggest direction for those readers who demand "endings."

McClintock's Sixty-four, Sixty-five demonstrated her ability to handle a number of characters and sub-plots, a pattern successfully repeated in The Stepfather Game. Another good read for middle school readers who enjoyed the characters and romance of McClintock's Shakespeare and Legs (Scholastic-TAB, 1987).

Dave Jenkinson, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Man
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