Five Stars for “Girl in the Mall” by R. Jetleb
Mary Cushnie-Mansour‘s review
Jetleb writes of social issues our youth face and she does it with heart and creativity. Set in Toronto, Ontario at the Eaton Centre, we are taken and absorbed into the life of fifteen-year-old Andi. When Andi arrives home one night after school and finds her alcoholic grandmother – her only living relative – dead, rather than be put into foster care again, as she was when her mother died, she runs away and lives in the mall. However, life in the mall isn’t as great as Andi thought it would be, as danger seems to be lurking around the corner.
Enter fifteen-year-old Noah, a teen who sees Andi taking food from other people’s trays in the food court, and he makes it his mission to help Andi. She begins to trust and depend on Noah, but she doesn’t know that his parents take in foster daughters, and when she finds out, she feels betrayed.
Despite everything that is happening, as Andi’s situation becomes dire, can Noah convince Andi to finally get help, and can Andi ever feel she is worthy of that help?
Jetleb’s positive outlook on life comes out loud and clear in her writing. She writes stories with heart-wrenching story-lines, but always comes up with a happy ending. “The Girl in the Mall” is a must-read for all teens between 13 and 18, and even for adults to re-enter a world that so many times we try to deny exists.