Young Adult Fiction

July 2000

$18.95 AU

125p pb

ISBN: 978-0702231681

A Dangerous Girl

Catherine Bateson

from the book...

All I had were some plans that went awry and a woman whose skin wore my fingerprints for nearly a summer.

Merri, John, Leigh and Nick are positioned like the four points of a gameboard. Gentle John is Dungeon Master and a craftsman of wood, but can he master the manipulative and ambitious Leigh? His sister Merri is seduced by the glamour of the stage, but her attention turns to Nick and his email haikus...

This energetic verse novel for young adults is at turns lyrical and amusing. It explores with sensitivity the emotional games played by teenagers and their parents and the compelling crossover of fantasy and reality in their daily lives.

If you have read this verse novel and would like to share your opinion of it with other readers please send your review or comments to YARR-A

A Dangerous Girl is the story of four teenagers: Merri, the innocent young girl who is searching for a friend; Nick, the computer whiz who steal's Merri's heart; John, Merri's gentle and undecided brother, and Leigh, the mysterious new girl who changes each of their lives. The entire novel is written in verse. Some of the story is told as though the four teenagers are characters in a fantasy game, with dungeons and castles and dragons. As the story unravels, Merri, John, Nick and Leigh experience love, hurt, betrayal and friendship.

This book takes a unique and fascinating look into the lives of teenagers, but I feel that the characters seem a bit unrealistic. This book is not my style, because I prefer books with humour, that aren't very deep and meaningful. It is never the less a worthwhile read for most young adults.

Elise, age 13, Canberra, Australia

A Dangerous Girl by Catherine Bateson is about four teenagers, Merri, John, Leigh and Nick.  On the cool Leigh’s first day of school she becomes friends with the not so popular Merri.  They strike up a friendship that has them spending a lot of time together.  Merri take Leigh to a Dungeons and Dragons game that Merri’s brother, John, runs.  Leigh and John hit in off and start going out.  John pushes the shy computer wiz, Nick, towards Merri.  These two have liked each other for years but have never shown it because of the politics of going out with your brother’s friend or best friend’s little sister.  Thus begins the emotional games.

The twists and bends of the story made for an interesting read.  The way the characters told their story, through ways that would be comfortable to them, made the story that much more believable.  Nick used the internet but Leigh used her journal.  The story isn’t a happy little love story.  It’s a story about a really bitchy girl that could, and does, stab anyone in the back.  You never know what is going to happen and you can’t put it down once you’re into it.  It does have a slow start but just wait for the end.

Ally, Year 10, Canberra, Australia

A Dangerous Girl is about a girl called Leigh, She is new to her school and tricks everyone at her school. She makes them think she’s some thing she’s not. She wears a fake nose ring and fake tattoos. She falls in love with John who has a sister Meredith who happens to become Leigh’s best friend.

Merri is in love with Nick, who is her brother’s (John) best friend. John wants Merri and Nick to be together because he wants to be with Leigh. These two relationships are totally different. Merri and Nick’s relationship is steadier than John and Leigh’s. They take things slower and let their relationship grow. John and Leigh take things a bit faster, to the next level…

The book is written in verse novel format. Each of the characters have journal entries about their thoughts and feelings. I found the book somewhat confusing and a little difficult to follow; I think this book would be for someone aged of 15 or older.

Lisa, Year 8, Canberra, Australia

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