Monday, June 21, 2010
The Lit Report by Sarah Harvey
I've been meaning to post about The Lit Report for a while now. I read it last summer but recently reread it and was even more impressed the second time around.
Julia, the seventeen year old narrator, is practical, funny and smart. She and her best friend Ruth can hardly wait to graduate and leave their Christian high school behind, go to college and get a cool apartment in the city. Meanwhile, Ruth is determined to lose her virginity before the end of the school year, but ends up getting pregnant. Unable to get help from her fundamentalist parents, or her brother Jonah who has been sent away to try to keep him on the straight and narrow, Ruth turns to her friend for help. Julia comes up with a plan that has some serious loopholes, but with the very real possibility of Ruth being disowned and homeless, what choice do they have.
There's a lot to like about The Lit Report. Each chapter begins with a quote of one of the narrator's favorite books, a device which the author adeptly uses to foreshadow coming events. Harvey is also particularly skilled at capturing realistic teen voices. She doesn't shy away from expletives or from hot issues like teens having sex. And best of all, she has created winning characters whose relationships are rich and multilayered. Take Ruth for example. She's loud, mouthy, self-centred, and ends up taking to mothering like a duck to water. She's nobody's victim. Julia, on the other hand, is smart but naive and totally caught off guard when Ruth decides to keep her baby. Their friendship goes through some bumps, but remains strong; something I liked very much. Come to think of it, I liked pretty much everything about this book, and I suspect that you will too.
he Lit Report isn't an issue novel.