Kathe Koja, Author . FSG/Foster $16 (144p) ISBN 978-0-374-37382-5

Fans of Koja's (The Blue Mirror ) previous novels may be a bit disappointed with this tale of two high school students sharing the lead in a play called Talk . The book unfolds through their alternating points of view, with scenes from the play sprinkled in throughout. Kit Webster, who has never acted before, auditions on a dare from his best friend, Carma, and gets cast as Reed, the male lead. Reed interrogates Lola, a resistance fighter, played by seasoned thespian Lindsay Walsh. Lindsay begins to develop feelings for Kit, much to the dismay of her hulking ex-boyfriend, Blake Tudor. In the first chapter, readers learn that Kit is gay (a picture of Pablo Roy, "my secret love," hangs in his room). The most interesting aspect of the novel—Kit's struggle to approach Pablo and "come out" (though he has confided in Carma)—gets interrupted by Lindsay's narcissistic diatribes, as well as by scenes from the play, involving unorthodox strategies for questioning so-called "terrorists." The play's theme may be topical, but the book itself does not delve into the issues deeply enough for readers to get a handle on them. Subplots about Blake seeking revenge and the parents' roles in the controversy surrounding the play's themes further scatter the book's focus. In the end, readers get a glimpse of a variety of issues and characters, but never get the chance to examine them up close. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/14/2005
Release date: 03/01/2005
Hardcover - 165 pages - 978-0-7862-8811-3
Paperback - 134 pages - 978-0-312-37605-5
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!