Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 15
- Grade: 7 to 10
Truth and rumour, fantasy and reality, love and prejudice.
Barbara Jean (BJ) Belanger has always suffered from low self-esteem: she has a portwine birthmark on her face, she feels overweight, and has repeatedly suffered the taunts of others her age for which she is a natural target, a victim. One of the very few who have treated her with respect, understanding and affection is Alex, who becomes her best friend. And what's ripping her apart as the story opens is that she knows she has betrayed him in the worst possible way. She didn't realize that he needed her support just as much as she needed his.
The real agents behind her betrayal are two other girls at school, Victoria and Rachel, gorgeous creatures who like flirting with Alex and who pretend that they want to be BJ's best friend. When Alex takes on a new member of his garage band, David, the balance of all their lives is upset, as Alex seems to display more affection for David than for her. Drifting away from her close friendship with Alex, BJ gets drawn into the glamour girls' orbit, and people start gossiping about Alex's close friendship with his new singer. Disaster comes when BJ is persuaded that she should steal Alex's journal of poems, in which he reveals the dark secret of his real feelings for David. Very quickly, BJ's life is turned upside down in a terrible moment in which the meanness of the world proves too much to bear.
Alma Fullerton brings fresh twists to the meaning of love and betrayal in her uncompromising portrayal of two lonely souls whose profound regard for each other isn't enough to save their friendship.
About the author
Alma Fullerton was born in Ottawa Ontario, as one of seven children. Her dad was in the military so they moved when his postings changed, first to Trenton when she was two, then to Comox when she was twelve. Being dyslexic, she couldn’t read until grade four and didn’t enjoy reading at all until grade nine, when she discovered books that she really loved. Now that she is as an award-winning author, Alma visits schools to teach children that they, too, can overcome any obstacle.Her first three books are: In the Garage (2006); Walking on Glass (2007), which was named to the 2008 YALSA Quick Pick list; and Libertad (2008), which has won and been nominated for many awards, including the 2008 Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Literature (finalist), the 2009 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award (finalist), the 2009 Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award (winner), the 2009 CLA Children’s Book of the Year Honor Book, the 2009 Golden Oak Award (winner), the 2009 Once Upon a World Children’s Book Award (winner), and the 2010 Silver Birch Award (shortlist).
"It is helpful for teens to read about characters going through similar situations so they will realize they are not alone. . . Fullerton has written a novel that will likely be well received by high school teens of both genders."
— CM Magazine
"In a quick read with heartbreaking results, Alma Fullerton touches base with dilemmas faced by many teens today."
"The lessons about friendship and betrayal will resonate with many teens."
— School Library Journal
"Recommended. . . Facing the consequences of our behavior is the valuable lesson left by this novel."
— Free Press