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Windle, Jeanette. Jana's journal.

Kregel Publications (P.O. Box 2607, Grand-Rapids, MI 49501-2607; wwwkregel.com). 236p. c2002. 0-8254-4117-X. $12.99. JS

Seventeen-year-old Jana Thompson tells the story of her senior year in a Christian private school through a series of journal entries that will keep teens reading. She thinks this year should be perfect, but it is starting out as a disaster. Jana has always been dependable, responsible, and someone that her parents, friends, and teachers could rely on for help. When things don't go smoothly for her, Jana decides to change her appearance and her personality and put herself first in everything, in a selfish misinterpretation of the "Love others as you love yourself" adage.

Jana soon discovers that these changes are not all that she thought they would be. Her new friends are shallow, undependable, and some are even unlikable. She disappoints many of her people in her school who previously valued her help. Her parents are not pleased with her, and her brother feels emotionally abandoned by her. She finds her new "popular" boyfriend boring, and Jana herself is confused and unhappy. At this point, she is drawn, unwillingly at first, into a program at an inner city neighborhood center in which her church youth group participates. As she slowly begins to help, she starts to lose the arrogant prejudice that she has always held toward inner city teens, and she begins to see them as people just like herself. As the story progresses, Jana befriends Maria, a young girl who is a member of one of the fiercest, most violent gangs in town. She first catches Maria stealing food and can't understand why, but slowly gets Maria to confide in her by showing that she cares about what happens to her. In a dramatic conclusion, Jana is held hostage and almost killed by rival gang members, but is saved by Maria and timely help from her father and other true friends.

This is an interesting story of Jana's coming-of-age, especially her realization that the sheltered world of her Christian private school and her privileged life are not the only realities for teens and others in her town. Christian principles and ideals are heavily used throughout the story as Jana struggles to find herself, and of course, she ultimately chooses these principles by which to live. Teens will be drawn to the journal format, and libraries that stock Christian fiction will definitely want this one. Nancy Chrismer, Libn., Juniata H.S., Mifflintown, PA
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Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Chrismer, Nancy
Publication:Kliatt
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 1, 2002
Words:412
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