Playing in Traffic
By Gail Giles
(Roaring Brook Press, Hardcover, 9781596430051, 176pp.)
Publication Date: September 16, 2004
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
Categories: Social Issues - Adolescence
"I was the ghost of school corridors.
Skye was the devil.
And I was doomed from the day she spoke to me."
Skye clearly has a dangerous agenda, but how can Matt resist the mystery and drama she trails in her Goth wake? She promises a way out of his dreary existence-but at what price?
Why has multi-pierced, multi-tattooed Skye Colby, the sexy and weird Goth Girl, singled out Matt, an almost invisible nobody, for special attention? This gripping page-turner will propel you from one shocking revelation to the next-right to the astonishing ending.
Gail Giles is the author of Shattering Glass, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, YALSA Quick Pick, and Book Sense 76 selection, as well as Dead Girls Don't Write Letters, a Book Sense 76 selection.
Booklist Gr. 8-12. Matt Lathrop is Mr. Cellophane, a high-school senior everyone looks right through. So he is shocked when Goth girl Skye Colby picks him as someone with whom she wants to share both her body and her secrets. Soon Matt realizes that there's an underlying agenda, but he is still surprised when he learns what it is. Supporting the main story is a subplot in which Matt's relationship with his adored younger sister is scarred by more secrets. Giles, who knows how to construct a tightly wound plot, continues to turn the tension up in this one. Her pacing is impeccable, and the story races along. The characterizations (of the kids, though not always the adults) are sharp and strong, and although the language is sometimes rough, it always sounds real ... there are few authors writing this sort of thriller, so expect fans of Nancy Werlin and Giles' previous books to grab this one. Publishers Weekly In her third suspenseful, psychologically gripping novel, Giles (Shattering Glass) chronicles the torturous relationship between 17yearold Matt, who "worked hard at being inconspicuous," and classmate Skye, the "Gothgirl" who is anything but. Matt can't understand why Skye ("a neon sign screaming 'sex ' ") singles him out one day and leaves a note in his locker, "Park. 7. You know you want to." Matt keeps their meetings secret, and their rendezvous quickly turn sexual; the stakes rise. The narrative, which moves among various characters' perspectives, takes on an effective mood of claustrophobia as the world shrinks to include only Matt and Skye. But Matt harbors another secret, involving his beloved younger sister; and Skye seems to be manufacturing more lies than she can keep straight. Taylor Banks, a popular girl at school, offers Matt a vague warning about Skye, but he seems mesmerized by her exotic beauty--until she asks him to do something unthinkable, and threatens to harm his sister if he does not come through. A few strands of the plot may puzzle readers (such as why Matt's friends turn on him when they uncover his relationship with Skye), but Giles's narrative pace never slackens, and readers will find themselves racing to the finish. Ages 14up. School Library Journal Grade 10 Up–Weird Goth-girl Skye has singled out Matt for attention. He's not sure why, since he's always tried his best to remain anonymous. He agrees to meet with her secretly and likes the excitement she adds to his life. When Skye claims that her stepfather abuses her and that her stepsister suffers from Down's syndrome, Matt feels compelled to "save" her. When another student warns him that Skye is not what she seems, Matt notices inconsistencies in her version of events and begins to question why she lures him to her parents' beach house for intimacy. The characterization and teen dialogue are mostly on target, with the exception of the remarkable maturity of Matt's 13-year-old sister. His self-questioning and paralysis when under stress will sound familiar to teens...