Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 15
- Grade: 7 to 10
- Reading age: 12 to 15
Although it is 1969 and the end of a decade that has brought tremendous social change even in southweatern Ontario, 14-year-old Annie Ward has experienced little of "love, peace, and understanding." A diehard Beatles fan and highly intelligent but lacking in social graces, Annie is still grieving over the death of her father and also misses Zoe, the one "best" friend she ever had, who has moved away due to less-than-friendly circumstances.
Lonely but proud, Annie has distanced herself from everyone, even her mother. then, amid highschool rumours of her supposed homosexuality, Annie is challenged by her guidance counsellor to confront her "problems" by writing about them. In an awkward attempt to make friends, she is drawn to a group of ragtag local hippies. One of them, Sweet William, is even more bereft than Annie, and not by choice. The 1960s may have jump-started a cultural revolution, but for many people the old prejudices are slow to let go. Still, perhaps "all you really need is love …"
About the author
Rhonda Batchelor has worked in and around publishing, as a writer, editor, publisher, bookseller and consultant, since 1977. From 1990 to 1997 she and her late husband, the poet Charles Lillard operated Reference West, a small literary press publishing over 100 chapbooks of poetry and short fiction by some of Canada's finest writers. Her own poetry titles include Bearings (Brick Books), Interpreting Silence and Weather Report (Beach Holme Publishers). A chapbook from Leaf Press, And roll from me like water: the erotic tanka suite, was published in the fall of 2006 and a teen novel, She Loves You, was released by Dundurn Press in 2008. Her poetry, fiction, reviews and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. Born in Brantford, Ontario, Rhonda has lived on Vancouver Island since 1971 and holds a BFA from The University of Victoria. She is currently the Assistant Editor of The Malahat Review.
"Literature for children and young adults should reflect the complexity and trials characteristic of their age, but it should also ultimately celebrate young people's resilience and desire to be their own. She Loves You succeeds in this. Any young person who has felt different or who has craved options beyond what they see in their high school environment will appreciate or at least relate to this book in some way Otherwise She Loves You is a memorable story with characters that are real and messages that resonate."
Canadian Batchelor serves up a complex tale about a strong girl living among confused friends and judgmental bullying ... The book is a relaxing cultural-immersion into the late 1960s, reveling in the way art can tie us all together. But it is embedded with a harrowing truth that continues today: some friends and lovers won't always be on your side.
Calgary Herald, The