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Children's Fiction Adolescence

Getting A Life

A Young Adult Novel

by (author) Jocelyn Shipley

Three O'Clock Press, Sumach Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2002
Adolescence, Parents, Friendship
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2002
    List Price

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Out of print

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Carly Lark is in a tough spot. Not only has her best friend Tanya left for a year in Australia, but a letter from Tanya has made it clear that the friendship is not all that Carly thought it was. On top of it all, Carly is also desperately lonely for Sally, Tanya's mother, who is the closest thing to a mother she has experienced since her own mother left when Carly was in kindergarten.

Reacting to the loss of Tanya, Carly befriends the Radfords, a family who have just moved in to the basement apartment across the street. Tough-talking, sixteen-year-old Dawn Radford seems to have everything Carly doesn't: glamour, style and the confidence to deal with boys. The makeover that Dawn gives Carly begins the confrontation between the working-class Radfords, whose poverty has them teetering on the edge of family breakdown, and Muriel Lark, Carly's respectable and stern grandmother, who sees Dawn's friendship with Carly as merely exploitive. Carly struggles to handle the increasing complexities of her life — homework, hanging out with "cool" kids at her local high school, her often tense home life and what she feels is a growing obligation to the Radfords. Though her effort to help the Radfords ends disastrously, Carly gradually learns to look beyond appearances and to take charge of her own life.

Jocelyn Shipley writes with insight, compassion and a deft touch for humour. Getting a Life is an honest, moving portrayal of adolescent life and how families work in different ways.

Canadian Children's Book Centre 2002 "Our Choice" selection.

About the author

Born in London, Ontario, Jocelyn always knew she would be a writer. She has attended The Humber School for Writers, and writes for both children and adults. Her award-winning stories have appeared in anthologies, newspapers and magazines. Her books for teens include Getting A Life, Cross My Heart and Seraphina's Circle. Getting a Life and Cross My Heart were Canadian Children's Book Centre "Our Choice" selections. Seraphina's Circle was nominated for the 2007/2008 BC Stellar Award, listed in Resource Links Best of 2006, and featured in the Anne of Green Gables Book Club.

Jocelyn Shipley's profile page

Other titles by Jocelyn Shipley