Thursday, January 15, 2009


It has only been months since the death of Billy Romero's father. The family is still trying to adjust. Billy's mother has thrown herself into her work as a realtor, and his little sisters seem too young to really understand. Billy has been seeing a therapist, but he's not sure it really does any good.

When he heads back to school, things seem hectic and confused. Every morning he finds himself running like a deranged idiot to catch the bus. There are mornings when he thinks the bus driver must hate him and even might enjoy the challenge of pulling off before Billy can reach the door. At school his usual friends don't seem to be interested in someone who mopes around stumbling through the day.

The only bright spot is his new English teacher. She looks way too young and pretty to be a teacher. Miss Gates who insists that students call her Tess, makes getting to English the only thing Billy looks forward to each day. There is some strange connection between Billy and Tess, and after the day she gives him a ride home when he misses the bus, their relationship blossoms from teacher/student to friend/friend.

Tess is interested in encouraging Billy's talent with poetry. She suggests he attend a poetry group with her one Friday evening. He is encouraged by his success with the group, but when he indicates that he has been asked to attend the Sadie Hawkins dance with his long-time friend Amy, Tess's reaction surprises him. Her possessive behavior and constant attention are beginning to suffocate Billy, but he's not sure how to handle the situation.

SOMETHING HAPPENED is the story of a vulnerable 8th grader and a teacher who takes advantage of that vulnerability. Although the book is rather simplistic and at times a bit beyond belief, it is still a page-turner with a basic reminder about the fine line that can be crossed in some relationships.

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