Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Walking Naked--Alyssa Brugman

16 year old Megan Tuw (pronounced two, or too, or to ;-) ) is one of the popular girls in school. She is a founding member of an exclusive club in her Australian high school. Manipulative, insecure & sometimes cruel, Megan crosses path with the school's Freak-- Perdita. Perdita is intelligent but misunderstood. She refuses to go along with the crowd, but is oddly drawn to Megan. When the two spend a week of detention together, away from the prying eyes of "the group", they connect and begin to see each other outside of school. Although Megan begins to see Perdita as more than a freak, her shallow need to belong prevents her from showing her friendship in public. When she's "caught" and must choose between her new friend and "the group", she's too weak to stand on her own. The consquences are tragic for all involved.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, reading it in one sitting. Okay, so I got up and had some jello, but that only took 10 minutes. Megan is not a positive character--she's mean and manipulative, but somehow we sympathize with her. She shows the potential for being a better person, and although it takes a tragedy, she does learn her lesson. Megan is not the "bad guy" and Perdita is not the "good guy." They are both flawed. Perdita doesn't deserve the ridicule her classmates give her, but she doesn't stand up for herself either. She intentionally tries to freak Megan's friends out, giving them more ammunition against her.

This is definitely a YA book, but I'm not sure if it's middle school--YA or 9th grade and up--YA. I don't know if a middle schooler could relate to the cliques and the quest for popularity and the rather dark consequences of Megan's betrayal of Perdita. It may however, be an important book for middle schoolers to read before they separate themselves into superficial packs.

Just Finished Reading: Walking Naked--Brugman
Reading: Probably Breaking Point which needs to be done before Friday!
On My Nightstand: Breaking Point--Alex Flinn; Sign of the Qin--LG. Bass; Truth About Forever--Dessen

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