Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Twelfth by Janet Key - ADVISABLE

by Janet Key
, 354 pages. Little, Brown and Company/Poppy. 2022 $17. 

Language: G (0 swears 0 'f'); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (evidence of physical assault, adult harming a child). 



12yo Maren is attending Charlotte Goodman theater camp. Her sister is in treatment for depression - Hadley is now in college but went to the same camp for many years, and now Maren feels in her shadow as she tries to navigate the camp - hoping that people won't ask about her sister. She quickly makes friends with Theo, her bunkmate who identifies as non-binary. This may be the final year of the theater camp, as they are struggling for funding. Rumor has it that there may be a very expensive ring hidden somewhere on campus, and Maren, who is great at solving mysteries, is following clues while Theo films a "documentary" about her search for the ring. 

Told in alternating chapters - Maren's Theater camp experience and Charlotte Goodman's story (the 1930s-1950s which adds a bunch of Hollywood McCarthy era history). While theater people tend to be welcoming, some of the students' responses to non-binary Theo were, unfortunately realistic. Charlotte Goodman had been a director who presented male, and her story arc provides the mystery. There's a pretty nasty villain, she is ruthless and mean, and I think a bit over the top. I loved the theater school stories, the classes and the things the kids were learning were spot on. They pulled together a full Shakespeare production rather quickly, I'm hoping it was a children's theater version. Theater kids will like Twelfth. Includes a great interview with Jennifer Feldmann, MD on Gender Diversity. Characters' races and cultures were not defined 

Lisa Librarian 

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