Odd One Out

Lou Kassem

Fawcett Juniper. $3.99

High school junior Alison rejects her boyfriend's advances and a powerful school sorority. In depression she nearly fails a class. Then she meets the mysterious Tony and likes him in spite of herself. In mistaken anger, Alison sends Tony away and....

Odd One Out is a quick young adult novel that tries to be more than a girl-meets-loses-wins-boy, but does not quite succeed. Perhaps in trying to make her story relevant, author Lou Kassem tackles too wide a scope of teenage problems -- including parental pressures, teenage depression, and date rape -- to give the book any clear focus.

Although Kassem obviously intends Alison's struggles with these problems to complement each other, they don't. The result is a jerky, unclear plot which jumps from one "relevant problem" to another. The climax, while unexpected, has the wrenching sensation of taking place in the wrong aspect of the story.

The book offers no insights into any of the problems Alison confronts. The strongest of Kassem's muddled messages is that it's okay to want to be your own person, and not just what your parents, friends, and school expect.


This review originally appeared in the June 12, 1994 edition of The Roanoke Times and World-News.


This review copyright 1994 by Wendy Morris

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