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Leaving Jetty Road    by Rebecca Burton order for
Leaving Jetty Road
by Rebecca Burton
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2006 (2006)

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* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Nat believes there are two kinds of people in life: the swimmers and the drifters. Nat is a drifter, but her two friends are swimmers. Swimmers always know where they are headed. Drifters just drift and don't know where they are going until they get there.

Nat, Sofe, and Lise are in Year 12, their last year before deciding what they will do with their lives. Nat gets a part-time job in a health food restaurant and meets Josh, her first boyfriend. Sofe, who has many boyfriends, meets Nick and falls seriously in love for the first time in her life. Year 12 is going well for both Nat and Sofe, but not for Lise.

Quiet, shy, introverted Lise worries about everything and becomes more unhappy every day. She decides that if she can control her weight she'll look better and her life will improve. She turns her healthy vegetarian lifestyle into an ongoing crash diet. She takes up running and spends all of her time away from school studying. That's easy to do since both of her friends are busy with their own lives.

Nat watches as Lise becomes more and more obsessed with losing weight. Sofe speaks to Lise in her usual straightforward way, while peacekeeper Nat tries to avoid what is happening to her friend. Is Sofe's blunt advice better for Lise than Nat's wait and see attitude?

Burton interweaves the lives of the three friends for a close look at eating disorders and the reactions of friends and relatives. Told alternately by Nat and Lise, this is the year that will change the friends forever as they follow different paths to adulthood.

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