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Zephaniah, Benjamin, Face.

ZEPHANIAH, Benjamin, Face. Bloomsbury. 207p. c1999.1-58234-921-5. $6.95. JS

Confident and good-looking, 15-year-old Martin Turner seems to have it all. He is the self-appointed leader of the "Gang of Three," class clown, and boyfriend of a rising model/actress. What could go wrong? Everything! After a fun evening at a local club, Martin and his friend Mark decide to take a ride from two boys they believe will take them home. Instead, the driver, dubbed Apache, speeds in the opposite direction, attracts the attention of the police, and leads a high-speed chase through the streets of London. Martin and Mark beg Apache to surrender to the police, and when he doesn't, Pete, who is sitting on the passenger side, throws a bag of drugs out of the car and into the street. In minutes, Apache loses control of the car, Pete flies through the front window, and Martin is trapped inside. When Martin regains consciousness, he learns his face has been badly burned. Now he has to find the courage to live despite his disfigured face, the loss of his closest friends, and severe depression. He braces himself rather quickly, immediately demands to see himself in a mirror, insists that he attend school once he is released from the hospital, and attempts to regain the affection of his girlfriend. Despite Martin's strides, those who refuse to look beyond the scars on his face constantly challenge him, making it difficult for him to "face the world."

The novel contains slang that may be unfamiliar to some, but it doesn't interfere with comprehension. If readers can trudge through the first few dry chapters, it will be well worth the wait. The pace of the novel increases as Martin's prejudices are disclosed and then reconsidered when he is forced to understand that no one deserves to be judged by physical appearance alone. KaaVonia Hinton, Old Dominian Univ., VA

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.

S--Recommended for senior high school students.
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Author:Hinton, KaaVonia
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 2005
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