Child X

by Lee Weatherly

David Fickling Books, June, 2002.
Hardcover, 156 pages.
ISBN: 0385750099
Ages 8-12

Child X by Lee Weatherly It has happened to many people. Things are proceeding in a predictable way and then something happens that changes everything. For thirteen year old Juliet Chency life is all right, but far from what she would really like. Uncle Derek has the same red hair that Jules has and he is a well-known actor. Jules enjoys talking to him. There are possibilities. She decides that being in a play adaptation of her favorite novel will bring some new experiences, so she tries out; to her surprise she is accepted in the role she had sought. Mother is always away at work, but Dad, who has a different kind of career, is always there to cook, clean and listen. Jules really loves her Dad. Then one day Dad is no longer there, and Jules cannot find him. Everything has changed.

The theme of people not being quite what one has perceived them to be runs through this riveting story. Jule honestly recounts her first hard lessons in the realities of human nature. To find that her beloved father is not really her biological father and that he is suing her mother for child support is shocking enough. To find that the world has a ravenous appetite for hearing all the details of other people's personal tragedies is indeed painful, especially when reporters and photographers are camped in the front yard. Jule finds that the newspaper reporter who sought her out and seemed to understand so completely had actually used her as the subject of a featured story in a national newspaper with wide circulation. To learn that one cannot necessarily depend on long standing friendships when things go terribly wrong is even more unsettling. On the positive side, Jule learns that a friendship that she had previously scorned is still offered and that those who have betrayed can be forgiven.

First time novelist Lee Weatherly, who was born in Little Rock, Arkansas now lives with her husband in the UK. After trying many occupations, she has settled on writing. Her sensitive narrative about the issues and pain that many teens face is certain to be enjoyed by young readers.

--Sarah Reaves White

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This review was published in the September, 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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