Friday, June 29, 2007

Sheep's Clothing by Josi S. Kilpack

If your children have access to the Internet, you need to read this book. If those children are over the age of 12, they need to read this book. The back of the book is a great set-up, so I'm excerpting it here:

Six children keep Kate and Brad Thompson busy all day. Between work, school, and Church activities there isn't much time for anything else. Having baby number seven might disrupt the family routine, but Kate isn't worried about that. She is worried, however, about her oldest daughter, Jess, who has been more secretive of late...

For Jess, being fifteen isn't just tricky—sometimes it feels downright impossible. ... Jess feels totally overwhelmed, continually misunderstood, and completely alone. Until she meets Emily online.

Emily listens, understands, and gives Jess confidence. Best of all, Emily introduces Jess to her cousin, Colt...[who] understands her better than anyone else in her life.

However, when Jess disappears it only takes one e-mail for everyone in the Thompson family to discover that when it comes to the Internet, things aren't always what they seem...

I liked the Prologue, which sets the tone and foreshadows events to come. I liked the way Josi started each chapter with e-mails between Jess, Emily and Colt. It was unnerving to see how subtle, yet manipulative those e-mails were--coaxing identifying information from Jess, alienating and isolating her from her parents and friends, and finally, convincing her to break all the rules and meet in real life. The scenes with Jess seemed realistic and right on with the way teens think and feel. I could really empathize with her.

I was less captivated by Kate. We spent a lot of time in Kate's head and there was a lot of "telling" rather than showing of her emotions. I like that to come out in action and dialogue a little more. There were also quite a few errors--typos, cut and paste mistakes, etc. It should have been more closely edited, and for Deseret Book to let these slip through, all I can say is "tsk, tsk."

But even with these annoyances, the concept and plot are great. The characterizations are well developed. I liked the ending. [small spoiler alert] It was a delicate balance between reality (the usual result) and a happy ending (unlikely), but Josi handled it well and it was believable.

I think this is an important read on a timely topic and so I say once again: If your children have access to the Internet, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK. If those children are over the age of 12, THEY NEED TO READ THIS BOOK.


Sandra said...

Can I borrow this book when you get home? I have been wanting to read it, but since they reshelved all the LDS books at the library, I can never find what I want because I forget the name of the author, book, both, whatever.

Josi said...

Thanks for the review, Karlene. If you have time (ha ha) I'd love some references on typo's and cut and pasting problems--I found a couple and forwarded them to DB for the next printing, but didn't realize there were so many.

And you're the first to point out the 'telling' in Kate's head, but I can see what you mean. Great feedback for me to work on in my next book. Glad you liked it overall :-)