cover image Second Chances

Second Chances

Brenda Chapman. Dundurn, $12.99 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-1-4597-0204-2

Chapman (Trail of Secrets) introduces a precocious 15-year-old named Darlene who "ache[s] to do something with my life: not to look back at the end and think all I'd been was ordinary." Darlene spends the summer of 1971 at the cottage country of Cedar Lake, outside Ottawa, with her mother and manipulative older cousin, Elizabeth, whose parents sent her there to curb her rebellious behavior. The summer looks to be bleak, at first: Darlene's crush has found someone new, her friends and brother aren't around, and the thrilling experiences she's after elude her grasp. But as Darlene helps her mother at the family store, dodges her father (who's been unstable since Darlene's sister's death), visits her vehemently political writing mentor, and spends time with her hippie neighbors, Darlene's life finally begins to feel like her own. Chapman reveals her heroine's secret emotions and the circumstances of her family's turmoil through believable dialogue and interactions, confidently distilling the sizzling expectations and small disappointments of a girl just beginning to understand the complexity of personal relationships and the far-reaching effects of world events. Ages 12%E2%80%93up. (Sept.)