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Eighth-grader Gina Smith is targeted as easy by some boys in her new school because of her physical development and an incident in her past in which she was assaulted in a public swimming pool.
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Grade 7-9-Gina is embarrassed by her body and hates that she's "stacked." She knows it wasn't her fault, but she keeps blaming herself for what happened last summer at the pool, when she was surrounded by a crowd of boys groping and yanking at her tank suit, pushing her under the water. The fear and shame still linger, even after therapy and a move across the country. While on the beach with a group of new friends, an innocent splashing incident triggers old fears, and Gina can't stop screaming. Her mom shares the pool incident with another mother, and somehow word gets around that Gina was raped. Eager for a first sexual experience, three eighth-grade boys convince themselves that "a girl like Gina really wants it," and they plan a gang bang at her house. Two of the three back out, so Eddie goes to Gina's house alone. Believing that he really likes her, Gina invites Eddie in, only to find herself once again fighting off the menacing hands of a boy. In the end, Eddie doesn't get what he wants, but he does get what he deserves, and Gina survives this second attack with a newfound strength. Neufeld has written a sensitive, realistic novel about an all-too-common rite of passage. Young teens will relate to Gina and probably recognize themselves or their schoolmates in the other characters. Short, quick-moving chapters, coupled with the subject matter, make this a sure winner.
Barbara Auerbach, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Despite an obvious agenda, this probing study of an eighth grader's battle with terror and frustration will hit readers close to home. The traumatized victim of a group grope at a New York swimming pool, Gina has moved with her mother to Santa Barbara, hoping to fit unobtrusively into a new school, a new life. It's not to be: not only does word of the assault get out (and, as usual, ``assault'' is immediately accepted as a euphemism for ``rape''), it combines with her unusually early physical development to make her a target of knowing looks and invidious rumors. Feeling powerless to set the record straight, Gina attempts to wait the gossip out. Neufeld (Gaps in Stone Walls, 1996, etc.) switches between Gina's struggle to pin down why boys misread her so completely, and the schemes of a trio of trash-talking classmates to rape her; while the frequently shifting points of view make it hard to keep characters straight, the author puts words in their mouths and thoughts in their heads that will make many readers nodor squirmin recognition. In the end, one boy makes the attempt alone, Gina fights him off, and when he swaggers into school claiming to have scored, she launches a devastating counterattack by standing up in class and describing what happened in precise detail. The story may be issue-heavy, but everyone displays conflicting emotions, and both good judgment and bad. (Fiction. 12-14) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description DK CHILDREN. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0789426242 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW33.2388763