Gargee, Jeanne. Say the Word.
Bloomsbury see St. Martins 2009 360p 16.99 978-1-59990-333-0 hs
Shawna’s dysfunctional family includes a mother that pursued a lesbian relationship, a possessive father, her mother’s lesbian lover and two children, one who is found to be the biological son of Shawna’s mother and father. Thought provoking for high schools. Shawna wonders who she is, the perfect Shawna doing what is expected, the pathetic Shawna who avoids confrontation, or the evil Shawna whose words can injure. Shawna’s viewpoint of a person who is emotionally, but not sexually attached to lesbians make this book unique. Shawna’s mother left for a lesbian relationship with Fran when Shawna was seven. Her father is a controlling, possessive man who will never forgive her mother even when she dies. Dad sets out to ruin Fran and starts legal proceedings to take the young brother, who is actually his and his ex-wife’s biological child. Shawna’s best friend since childhood reveals she is a lesbian. Does Shawna reject her old friend and her newfound brothers, or does she just ignore them? Her hurtful words about homosexuality come back to haunt her as she becomes more comfortable with their alternative lifestyle. When the biological brother comes to live with Shawna, only Shawna realizes the boy is depressed enough to be suicidal. As Shawna builds a secret relationship with Fran and boys, Fran’s older son becomes romantically involved with Shawna including a one-night-stand sexual relationship that almost seems gratuitous as she knows she will never see him again. Too many issues: Alzheimer's, career choices, homosexuality, and religion, cloud the smooth flow of the plot . However there is much to think about for grades 9-12. LMN