Monday, April 26, 2004
Griffin, Adele. 2003. OVERNIGHT. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons. ISBN 0399237828 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-10]
SUMMARY and ANALYSIS
The “Lucky Seven” is a group of popular girls at Fielding Academy. They are the ones that everyone wants to be like and be with. The night of Caitlin’s birthday party sleepover brings the girls a night they will never forget. Grey, the quiet one of the group, mysteriously vanishes. The story of what happens to Grey and how it affects the other girls of The Lucky Seven is the rest of the tale.
OVERNIGHT is told through the points of view of four of the main characters, with each chapter alternating narrators. This technique is effective in showing each of the girl’s personalities and the internal power plays occurring within the group. Grey’s chapters tell of her journey with a mentally unbalanced woman and her struggle to get home; Leticia’s tells of her struggle with being one of two African Americans at her new school and her designs to become the dominant figure in the Lucky Seven; Zoë is shown as a shallow self-centered preteen girl with not much thought given to anyone but herself; and Martha’s chapters tell of a person who has no feelings of guilt or remorse, a young girl on the brink of being a sociopath. The language and self centeredness of these characters is right on the mark, as is the meanness which surrounds the girls of this group as they jockey for positions of power within their clique. While these are not necessarily likable characters, they are real ones and readers will recognize aspects of themselves and others in these well-drawn personas.
This book can offer an opportunity to discuss cliques and the struggle for popularity.
This tale could be used to discuss “stranger danger” and the need for families to have a code word or other safety measure in case of emergency.
Other books by Adele Griffin about unhealthy friendships:
AMANDINE. ISBN 0786806184
Other books about girls and cliques:
Koss, Amy Goldman. THE GIRLS. ISBN 0803724942
Sheldon, Dyan. TALL, THIN AND BLONDE. ISBN 1564021394
By Marianne Follis