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FIRST FRUITS
By Penelope Evans

Soho Press, July 2000. (266 pages)

Reviewed by Shirley H. Wetzel

This well-written work of psychological suspense is told entirely through the voice and eyes of a 14 year-old Scottish schoolgirl. Her story, told with little inflection, is both innocent and chilling as one reads between the lines.

Is her beloved father a charismatic minister, a hero, or something else entirely? Is she herself a victim or victimizer, or both?

The descriptions of the workings and dynamics of the schoolroom are vivid and believable, the characters well-drawn. Readers from any culture can relate to the cliques which govern the behavior of the different schoolgirls - Kate Carr, the protagonist, and Fiona McPherson, the two strong personalities who vie for the allegiance of the most desirable classmates; Lydia Morris, the new girl seeking to fit in, and Monica MacMurray, an unattractive girl who lives in her own world and seems to have no redeeming values.

There is no overt violence, but the hints of what happened to Kate and her family that are revealed throughout the book are disturbing and gripping enough.

This is worth a read.

Other books by this author include: FREEZING .


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