Children’s Book Reviews
Children's Book Reviews: The Most Dangerous Thing
Publish April 11, 2017
Leanne Lieberman, author of Gravity, explores pride in female sexuality, body image, anxiety and depression in her latest work, The Most Dangerous Thing. Pressed down by ‘a fog that haunts her brain’, sixteen-year-old Sydney (Syd) struggles daily to get out of bed and go about life as usual. Syd’s closeness with her family proves to be both a blessing and a curse – while she loves her Zeyda and visits him on a weekly basis, he often makes things worse. Syd’s sister, Abby, insists on producing and acting in a high school version of The Vagina Monologues, mortifying Syd in the process. As the fog and her anxiety intensify, Paul’s romantic interest in Syd provides a happy, yet confusing distraction as she starts to realize the physical joys of having a boyfriend.
With a backdrop of a socially conscious Jewish family living on the Canadian west coast, Syd knows she has support when she needs it, but also hesitates to let them in for fear of being a burden. Syd’s internal conflict reveals the loneliness associated with anxiety and depression, causing her to hide in her closet on her worst days. But Lieberman creates a character who is strong in her weakness – Syd confronts this fog and anxiety on a daily basis, experiencing insightful character growth as a result. Along the way, Syd’s sister Abby provides a passionate storyline that is equally important – educating girls and women about their bodies and encouraging pride in what they can do.
With parents who are engaged in their own social justice issues, and Syd’s devoted friends, Sofia and Fen, Lieberman provides a community of acceptance for Syd, as well as three powerful female role models for readers to enjoy.
An avid promoter of Canadian teen fiction, Amy Mathers completed the Marathon of Books in 2014. The money she raised allowed the Canadian Children’s Book Centre to fund the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award. She also reviews for the Canadian Children’s Book News and writes a monthly article for the CCBC e-newsletter.
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