When fifteen-year-old Julia Epstein and her Anglophone family flee Montreal in October 1970, she struggles to adjust to a new life in the suburban wasteland of North York, Toronto. Next door lives Carla Cabrielli, who works her "assets" and knows how to get what she wants. Julia and Carla get on a collision course, not only for the same role in the school production of Hamlet, but also for the leading man - sword-wielding bad boy and sex magnet, Ian Slater. Heartache and Other Natural Shocks explores teen rivalry. When events take a dangerous turn, both Julia and Carla become vulnerable to deception and betrayal. Full of unexpected twist and turns, Glenda Leznoff's unique novel marks the debut of an important new voice in young-adult fiction.
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Glenda Leznoff is a writer, college professor and artist. She launched her career as a playwright; wrote for film, television and animation; became involved with magazine and non-fiction projects; and continues to write fiction and children's literature. She is currently an instructor in the Creative Writing Department at Douglas College. As a visual artist, her paintings have been shown in galleries and collections across North America. Glenda lives in Vancouver, where she gardens, dances and cooks sumptuous meals for friends and family.From School Library Journal:
Gr 9 Up—Political unrest in Montreal is the reason Jules's parents give when they tell her of their decision to move to the Toronto suburbs. It's the early 1970s, and the 15-year-old is heartbroken to leave her grandparents, her friends, her cousins, and everything familiar to travel with her mom and brother to a rental house, new school, and (hopefully) new friends. Dad is staying behind, trying to sell his business, but so far there are no buyers. The transfer to a new school starts out badly and gets worse as Jules and Carla, the girl who lives next door, instantly dislike each other. Unfortunately, they are in several classes together and both are attracted to another newcomer, sexy bad boy Ian. Even worse, the two girls both try out for the same part in the school play. When Jules decides to sneak back to Montreal to live with her dad, she discovers the real reason why her mother moved them to Toronto and her heart is completely broken. A school crisis finally forces Jules to gain perspective in her life and to begin healing. Told from Jules's and Carla's alternating viewpoints, this insightful, compassionate, and darkly humorous novel explores the agonies and ecstasies of being a teen in 1970s Canada. Descriptions of sexual activity and alcohol use, while common to that time period, may limit the audience to mature readers. VERDICT Well-developed characters experiencing parental problems, jealousy, betrayal, lust, and friendship will captivate older teens.—Susan Riley, Mamaroneck Public Library, NY
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