cover image Saving Lenny

Saving Lenny

Margaret Willey. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-05850-5

From the very beginning, readers may sense that there is something too fragile and intense about Jesse Davis's relationship with her new boyfriend, Lenny. Since they began dating, Jesse has distanced herself from her parents and classmates and, although she declares she has found perfect love, is unhappy most of the time. Best friend Kay starts to worry when Jesse changes her plans to go to college and decides to spend a year with Lenny at his grandfather's isolated cabin. Although Jesse's new life is idyllic at first, it soon becomes a nightmare. Lenny begins acting lethargic, depressed and extremely possessive; Jesse finds herself playing the role of scapegoat as well as caretaker. Even when she admits that Lenny is truly disturbed, Jesse has trouble breaking ties. Because the story is told from alternate points of view, readers are allowed to experience Jesse's emotional turmoil while retaining an outsider's perspective. Jesse's despair is as hauntingly real as Lenny's gradual breakdown. With exemplary skill, Willey delineates love turned into obsession in this enlightening, disturbing novel. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)