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The Healing Time of Hickeys

by Karen Rivers

Sixteen-year-old Haley Harmony is self-deprecatingly honest about her flaws, almost to a fault, in B.C. author Karen Rivers’ latest YA novel. The entries in her laptop diary demonstrate, with terrific comic and touching effect, the aptness of her assertions, but she’s much more than a self-described obsessive compulsive with bad hair. She’s a very likeable, grounded soul, despite the fact that she spends an awful lot of time hyperventilating. An accident-prone magnet for comic peril, Hailey complains with a sigh about being considered the “entertaining friend.” That she is, and the diary she keeps in her last year of high school is a pleasure from start to finish. The majority of teen readers (outside of prom queens) will find Haley’s diary filled with countless moments of recognition as Rivers, with spot-on accuracy, captures contemporary teen life.

The novel hasn’t much of a plot outside of the escalating escapades, which, by sheer accumulation, finally topple credibility. But Haley’s appealing voice carries the story. With the zing of a standup comic, she records the ups and downs of friendship with her socially assured best friends, her budding romance, and life with her addled hippie dad.

Inspired by the progenitor of chicklit, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Haley is constantly monitoring her appearance, making vows of self-improvement, and obsessing over Mr. Wrong. For three years, Haley has been mooning over J.T., noting every sighting of him, when Mr. Right, Brad, is in front of her nose – or, to be accurate, on her neck, giving her the four giant hickeys whose healing time causes her no end of fretting. However, what comes across in so much of chicklit as arrested development seems eminently, delightfully age-appropriate in Haley’s case.


Reviewer: Sherie Posesorski

Publisher: Polestar Books/Raincoast Books


Price: $9.95

Page Count: 208 pp

Format: Paper

ISBN: 1-55192-506-0

Issue Date: 2003-9


Age Range: ages 14+

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