"In my family, there's a story that gives me the shivers. Whenever my dad hears it, he says, that's life. It can turn on a dime."
So writes the almost thirteen-year-old Jo for her school essay contest, and little does she know that she is about to discover the truth behind these prophetic words. Life is unpredictable-especially for a young girl on the edge of adolescence who is about to discover a carefully hidden family secret that can threaten her already fragile identity.
Turns On A Dime is the second book in Julie Lawson's Goldstone Trilogy. Lawson, who lives on Vancouver Island, where this story unfolds, has written many books for children and young adults, including White Jade Tiger, Cougar Cove, Goldstone, and Fires Burning.
This book is a well-constructed, absorbing coming-of-age story that can easily stand alone, although I found it to be even more enjoyable after reading the first book in the set, Goldstone, where the reader is introduced to the magical pendant whose wearers the trilogy chronicles.
Turns On A Dime illustrates, through the eyes of Jo, the anguish and the joy of growing from a child into an adult. Meet Michael, the quirky kid from England whom Jo befriends, or Mack (short for Susan MacKenzie Lamont), the much older and wiser babysitter whom Jo worships, until she discovers that Mack has her own shameful secret. There are pyjama parties, boy-crazy girls, and a teen music idol (Elvis, in keeping with the 1960s when this story takes place). There are friendships and there are betrayals.
Julie Lawson captures the fluid state of anticipation in which most preteens and teenagers live and thrive. Jo is like any other Canadian girl her age, striving to cope when life, as it often does, turns on a dime. Not everything is always as it seems, as Jo discovers, but can she learn to accept the things she cannot change? This is the age-old story of alienation and reconciliation, told in an engrossing, entertaining manner.
I finished this book happy in the knowledge that Part Three of this excellent trilogy will be on bookshelves in the future.
Julie Burtinshaw is a full-time mother who does research and writes from her home in Vancouver.