The Juniper Game, Sherryl Jordan
The cover art of this book alone transports me back to my adolescence -- it's an icon of my teenage reading years. (That, and Christopher Pike's shining, embossed pen name -- HA!).
I recently decided to systematically re-read some of the books that make a great impression on me and my friends as a teen. I was really interested to see how they stacked up after so many years, and against my adult personality and preferences.
When I traded for a copy of The Juniper Game at my local second-hand bookstore, it became the first title to revisit.
- The great news: I loved reading it. I'm not sure I love it in the same way I did as a young woman, but I certainly enjoyed it still. I read it all afternoon and finished it that evening, tremendously satisfied.
- The dialogue is occasionally unlikely (but surprisingly, not too dated!). It sometimes includes vocabulary, quick-thinking or exposition I simply can't imagine in everyday speech (especially the speech of 14-year-olds)...but as many of you know, I'll take smart unlikely dialogue any day over dull, predictive yet realistic character conversation.
- There is warm sensuality between 14-year-old characters and some innuendo. There is no heavy petting, but enough sensuality (kissing between teenagers and referencing sex and assault between adults) that more conservative readers may not be enthused.
- It was hard to read the stereotypes the teenagers thought in...but I imagine it really appeals to a teenager reader feeling labelled. Calling another character "a nerd" never sits well with me.
- Some of the scary stuff is my scary stuff -- my personal fears.
- It is more predictable as an adult, but I imagine as a young reader it comes together in a more striking way. It is still well-done, even if the mechanics are more obvious to a more experienced reader.
- There's no swearing.