Quill and Quire

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Hello, Groin

by Beth Goobie

When 16-year-old Dylan’s mind tries to ignore the clear signals from her body – i.e., the groin of the title – it has ways of making sure she gets the message. The boy she’s dating is loving, loyal, and adored by her family, and she gets a lot of respect at Diefenbaker Collegiate for being his girl. Problem is, her body doesn’t want him. What it wants is her best friend Jocelyn.

Goobie has been nominated for a Governor General’s Award and won CLA and Saskatchewan book prizes for her frank and courageous fiction for young people. She heads back into the fray with this new title about the sexual pressures on adolescents, especially those whose sexuality doesn’t fit the heterosexual mould. She creates a memorable character in Dyl, caught between her unruly desires and her need to be admired and included. Goobie handles Dyl’s sexual feelings and actions with sensitivity but complete candour. Depicting the complex social layers of high school convincingly, she sketches a large cast of vivid characters, from Dyl’s parents, brother, and little sister to the school librarian and the love-hungry girl from a nearby school who stalks Dyl.

At 274 pages, it’s a long YA novel and at times an emotionally demanding one, as Goobie has Dyl facing decisions that have overwhelmed others much older and more experienced than herself. It’s a foregone conclusion that she will have to negotiate a settlement between body and mind. How much collateral damage will result and where she’ll find the courage and strength to get through it provide a strong drive to the finish. Not sure about that title, though….