Jan Slepian Risk and Roses

ISBN 13: 9780399222191

Risk and Roses

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9780399222191: Risk and Roses
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In 1948, newly-moved to the Bronx, eleven-year-old Skip longs to shed her responsibility for her mentally handicapped older sister and give her whole attention to her new friendship with the bold and daring girl who sems to run the neighborhood.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-7-- Skip, 11, craves acceptance in her new big city neighborhood. She is beside herself with joy when Jean Persico, the undisputed ringleader, allows her to be a part of her gang. The girls form a secret club, but each must meet a challenge designed by Jean to secure membership. Her dares seem custom designed to prey on the girls' weaknesses. She also enjoys tormenting old Mr. Kaminsky, who has befriended Skip's retarded sister, Angela, but who has no use for Jean. In a final cruel twist, Jean slyly entices Angela into cutting the blooms from all of Kaminsky's prize roses. As the story draws rapidly to its conclusion, Skip ceases to be mesmerized by Jean and decides to go her own way. Although perceptive readers will quickly see where this story is leading, the plot and characterizations are strong. Skip and her beautiful but painfully slow sister, Angela, are clearly drawn, believable figures, and Jean is the kind of child who, through strong will and determination, draws others to her and uses them. Kaminsky is sympathetically portrayed and is the most likable adult figure in the novel. Skip's hard-working, long-suffering father and the overprotective, high-strung mother are realistically drawn. The themes here are serious, but their presentation is never heavy-handed. There is pain here, but there is also hope. Readers will see something of themselves in Skip, and perhaps in Jean, and should come away from this story with much food for thought. --Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

In the 1948 Bronx neighborhood depicted here, characters are vessels of pain: 11-year-old Skip, the heroine whose family has just moved in, worries that her "slow" sister, Angela, will scare off potential new friends; their mother, unable to face her daughter's handicap, idealizes Angela; Kaminsky, across the street, mourns relatives "all gone to the Nazi ovens"; and although motherless Jean, leader of the local girls, tells Skip how her grown brothers shower her with presents, she always wears the same raggedy dress. With such a tangle of complicated circumstances, it's not surprising that Slepian's ( The Broccoli Tapes ) characters never achieve fullness or authenticity. Jean, whose charisma is not as immediately clear to readers as it is to Skip, forms a "dare club" and goads her friends into frightening, unwholesome missions (Skip's is to shoplift three red items from a dimestore). Like much of the novel, the climactic moment, in which Skip is forced to choose between loyalty to Angela and friendship with Jean, and its aftermath are predictable, superficial treatments of serious issues.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Slepian, Jan
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