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  • Confronting look at the secret lives of teenagers

    Brother and sister Sammy and Kelly are separated when Kelly is sent away to a boarding school for troubled youth. From afar, will Kelly be able to prevent her younger brother from making the same mistakes she made? The story is told by Sammy and Kelly via the letters and emails they send each other during their separation. From their correspondence, we need to piece together what happened. Because of this format, we sometimes feel a bit removed from the action. However, the short chapters (i.e., letters) keep us reading, and the tension ramps up and the suspense increases when one of the siblings doesn’t reply for a while. I love the relationship between Kelly and Sammy. They really care for each other and look out for each other, keeping secrets from their parents, as most kids do. I don’t know when the book is meant to be set, but it appears to be in the early 2000s. There are references to old television shows, watching television when shows are airing (not recorded or streamed), digital cameras but not smartphones with cameras, mobile phones but no texting, and Internet but no social media. This book provides a confronting look at the secret lives of teenagers, which may be closer to reality than we would like to think. Warnings: coarse language, drug use, underage drinking, sexual references, pedophilia, violence. I received this book in return for an honest review. Full blog post (7 June):

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