Boys Lie

John Neufeld, Author, John Neufield, Author
John Neufeld, Author, John Neufield, Author DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley) $16.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-7894-2624-6
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In this unsettling junior high drama, boys' lies become dangerous weapons. Even after moving to a different community, 13-year-old Gina cannot shake the horrible memory of being molested at a public pool. Her new classmates soon catch wind of the incident, and rumors that she was raped begin to circulate. Jennie, who proves to be a loyal friend, tries to stop the exaggerated gossip before it spreads too far. But wealthy eighth-grader Eddie Phipps has already marked Gina as an easy target (""She's dying for it. Again"") and is plotting a way to make his sexual fantasies come true. After assaulting Gina in her home, Eddie gets a swift kick in the crotch, a pummeling by Gina's beau and further humiliation when Gina explains what happened in front of her homeroom class. However, the author seems more bent on dishing out just deserts to his despicable antagonist than exploring how Gina comes to terms with the two attacks. Neufeld (Gaps in Stone Walls) too conveniently pegs adolescent boys as puppets controlled by their hormones and their female peers as virtuous maidens banding together to ward off a common enemy. While the novel's intent--condemning sexual assault--is noble, its bald treatment of the subject fosters division rather than understanding between the sexes. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
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