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Archive for Sunday, June 30, 2002

Rosen’s e-mail story looks at struggle to let go of old

June 30, 2002

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Imagine being a teen-ager who has to move from the big city to a rural town in the middle of nowhere.

What would you do?

Chase Riley went online.

Michael J. Rosen's "ChaseR: A Novel in E-mails" (Candlewick Press, $15.99, 12 and older) tells the story of Chase, 14, whose parents have moved the family from Columbus, Ohio, to a farmhouse 60 miles away.

While Chase promises his parents he'll "make an effort" to adjust, he spends most of his time online, sending e-mails of small-town news to his friends back in the city and updating his sister, who's away at college, about home life.

The story, told entirely in e-mails, shows the dilemma of the new kid in town who's trying to find reasons to hate his new home, while discovering new people and places. He eventually comes to the conclusion unbelievable! that maybe country life isn't so bad.

In one of his newsletters, Chase lists his top 10 reasons to move to the country. Among them: "Your parents want to move there," "No way they're going to let you stay behind" and "You (meaning, your parents) want a slower pace of life, free of the city's hustle & bustle."

He also lists his top 10 reasons for moving back to the city. They include "You were right all along," "Your parents were wrong" and "You overestimated how much you liked summer camp. It was fun and everything, but year-round?"

The book offers an endearing look at the struggle to let go of the old and adapt to the new. The hilarious, candid correspondence will make the reader feel as if he has somehow hacked his way into someone else's e-mail account.

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