cover image Fair Game

Fair Game

Erika Tamar, James Ed. Hall. Graphia Books, $3.95 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-15-227065-0

With frankness, insight and imagination, Tamar translates a headline-making New Jersey crime into a thoughtful and gripping novel about a mildly retarded girl in a Long Island community who is gang-raped and otherwise molested by a group of high school athletes, all-American boys with bright futures. Three diverse yet equally credible characters alternate as narrators: Cara Snowden, the boys' victim, a special-ed student who wants nothing more than to be a ``regular girl''; Laura Jean Kettering, girlfriend of one of the rapists, blinded by loyalty and unable to acknowledge the horrific truth until it almost literally stares her in the face; and Julio ``Joe'' Lopez, an athlete who refuses to take part in the assault on Cara. Tamar is careful not to tell the story in black and white--although the assailants are squarely blamed, she emphasizes the characters' confusion, allowing the reader to see the interplay of Cara's limitations and the boys' rationalizations of their own behavior. Meticulously rendered and narrated in speedy, staccato language, this novel is a must-read for any teen who has considered the implications of foul play. Ages 14-up. (Oct.)