Sunday, January 22, 2006


Jacobson, Jennifer Richard. 2005. STAINED. New York: Atheneum. ISBN 068986745X [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]

With the disappearance of her neighbor Gabe, Jocelyn begins to relive childhood memories. The two children had been close friends until an incident made Jocelyn keep her distance from Gabe, but she still feels as if an invisible cord connects her to him still. The flashbacks of Jocelyn’s memories of Gabe are interlaced with the present-day 1975 where the whole town is searching for the lost boy. While concerned about Gabe’s well-being, Jocelyn is also trying to understand her boyfriend Benny who is coping with the dying of his mother. A further complication in Jocelyn’s life is the presence of Father Warren, a priest who is intertwined into all three teenagers’ lives and has an invisible hold over all three.

Written in first person, STAINED alternates between the here and now and the memories of Joceyln’s childhood. Readers are able to see how events of her past have shaped Jocelyn into who she is now. One example of this is that Jocelyn never made her First Communion, a missing event that not only made her different from the other kids but also left her a person who feels “stained.” Her memories also give insight into the relationships she has with the boys in her life. With her directness and honesty, Jocelyn’s character is realistic and relatable as she tackles issues of religion, sex, and love.

The incidents in Jocelyn’s childhood helped make her who she is. Have teenagers recall events in their lives that helped shape their characters. Encourage them to write down these memories so they will always have them. If they want to, have readers also share their memories with the group.

Other books with similar themes:
Anderson, Laurie Halse. PROM. ISBN 0670059749
Green, John. LOOKING FOR ALASKA. ISBN 0525475060

By Mary D. Buckalo

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