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 is an award winning author- author/illustrator. She lives in NorthLake PEI with her husband, and dog. Born in Ontario Canada, she grew up in a large military family and has lived in in Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Germany. Alma struggled with reading and memorized most things until the age of nine when, with the help of her grade four teacher, she realized she had dyslexia. By grade nine Alma loved reading. Besides writing and illustrating Alma now works in schools as an educational assistant who helps children with learning disabilities figure out the best way for them to learn.
Her books have been nominated and/or have won awards including the Governor General Finalist 2008, TD Canadian Children's Literature Award finalist 2009 & 2011 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award winner 2009, CLA Children's Book of the Year Honor Book 2009, 2011 Golden Oak Award winner 2009, Once Upon a World Children's Book Award Winner - 2009, Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award shortlist - 2010, SilverBirch Award shortlist -2010, 2014, Silver Birch Express 2023, Blue Spruce Award 2014 & 2016, 2022, Kentucky BlueGrass Award 2015 and the 2016 Marilyn Baillie picture book award.
"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