Fishtailing

Fishtailing

Book - 2009
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Teen violence, bullying and the burning quest to fit in are presented in the poems of four unforgettable high school students: Natalie, Kyle, Tricia, Miguel. Their stories unfold in this explosive new book told in free verse. A story of teen angst like no other, it is based on fictional characters but is rooted in the realities of the teen experience.

When Natalie moves to a new high school she befriends three unwitting victims into her spider-web of manipulations, lies and deceit. Through the poetry and assignments of an English class we glimpse the world of the four teens. Natalie, whose alcoholic parents, years of neglect and ultimate rape by her father's friend has shaped her into a cruel and manipulative teen; Tricia, dealing with her blended family, is drawn into Natalies' forbidden world of partying and rebellion; Kyle, a would-be musician is in love with Tricia and Miguel who lusts for Natalie while hiding the secrets of his family.

The story weaves us through their poetry, their lives and culminates at a party where the four lives fishtail out of control. English class will never be the same.

Publisher: Regina : Coteau Books for Teens, c2009.
ISBN: 9781550504118
1550504118
Characteristics: 196 p. ;,21 cm.

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l
loose
Oct 06, 2011

The narative in this book is accomplished mainly through the fictional poetic works of four teenagers, Natalie, Kyle, Tricia, and Miguel, interspersed with adult commentary in the form of communication between an English teacher, Mrs. Farr, and a counselor Ms. Nishi. There is also some poetry in the voice of Ms. Nishi, and Mrs. Farr's commentary on the poetry written by her students. These elements are artfully woven together to create a gripping and intense story that is disturbing, believable, and highly readable. Natalie is the character that the events and people in this story revolve around. She presents as a stereotypical rebellious teen with an attitude, but quickly reveals herself to be deeply disturbed, involved in ritualized self mutililation, for reasons that aren't fully revealed until close to the end of the book. She becomes friends with Tricia, who is struggling with the implications of her mixed race, the result of the union of her now estranged parents, and living in a blended family where she feels invisible. Their relationship becomes codependent and takes a disturbing turn as Natalie draws Tricia into negative behaviour patterns. Meanwhile we are introduced to Miguel and Kyle. Miguel is a refugee from a non specified South American conflict, and an orphan as result of it. He is deeply scarred by his experirnces. Kyle is a fairly typical teen, though he is struggling to assert an identity for himself independent the one imagined for him by his family and the educators at his school. Attraction develops between Kyle and Tricia, and Miguel and Natalie. Tension builds throughout the story, as the issues these teens are dealing with propel them toward what seems like an inevitable tragic outcome. The adults in the book are oblivious to the potential for disaster and consistantly try to trivialize and sanitize the emotions expressed by the four teens. The story ends with many issues unresolved, but there is a sense of potentail positive outcome nonetheless.

v
vishaka1234
Aug 20, 2011

An interesting format and an interesting story. Phillips has written a book has managed to connect 5 distinct characters in a gripping way. It's like 5 short stories that all come together in the end! It's not just your ordinary teen problems - the issues in this book are taken to extremes and really make one think about the course of life. The writing style kept it fresh and interesting. Really enjoyed reading it!

r
Riceyy
Jul 10, 2011

this book was in the format of free verse poetry. i really enjoyed it because the stories were short and the characters were what drew me into the book. really short book but heartfelt story at the same time.

shannonleemcnaughty Apr 26, 2011

I really enjoy this book! I read it with in an hour I count put it down. It is action pack and full of excitment. If you have not read it yet find it and start reading it you'll be done befor you know it.

vslice Apr 08, 2011

this reminds me of fish. like sunfish. i dont know why. i like fish.

megtucker99 Apr 08, 2011

This book was ok. I found it hard to follow along

meglabe6 Apr 08, 2011

This book was very different, i didnt really like the way it was written. The poems were well done but not my favourite book.

aileenosullivan Apr 08, 2011

This book started out very confusing at first, but it ended up being very good!

Thisguy Apr 08, 2011

I thought this book was very good. An interesting way to write a story. A good story to read and many people could probably relate to it.

breashan42 Apr 08, 2011

I loved this book!!!

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