Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Degrassi Junior High: Shane by Susin Nielsen

Shane has never been the kind of guy who stood out in a crowd. He was never all that popular or the best at anything. That's why he was so surprised when he started dating Spike. She was so confident and popular; everything seemed pretty great. Then Spike got pregnant and Shane's world turned inside out. He tried avoiding her (and the pregnancy) for awhile, but that didn't change anything. His deeply religious parents  barely speak to him, Spike doesn't want anything to do with him, and he has no friends to turn to. Shane feels like his life is out of control. Is there anything he can do to get back on track?

In many ways, Shane is a companion book to Spike, another book in the Degrassi series. Shane starts after Spike is pregnant and opens with him finally telling his parents what's going on. There are some continuity errors and inconsistencies between the two books (and a bit with the TV series), but nothing that really changes anything too much. Shane's story, though, isn't singly defined by his teenager fatherhood. After his daughter is born (when he's only fourteen), Shane gets a job to make more money and makes a new friend who's the classic definition of a bad influence. Shane lies to his parents, blows of his parental responsibilities, and starts experimenting with drugs and alcohol. While Spike has more of a hopeful optimism, Shane reads a bit more like a cautionary tale. Also, I find it very interesting to read about attitudes towards teen fathers and parenthood; more than one person, including adults, tell Shane that it's best for him to just forget about his child, to act like she doesn't exist and move on with his life, and that he's not responsible for any decision Spike makes because that's her life. I love exploring these concepts and how they're presented in books for teens.

Find it at Amazon.

Read it with:
Degrassi Junior High: Spike by Loretta Castellarin and Ken Roberts
Degrassi Junior High: Snake by Susin Nielsen
Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen

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