Cover image for Changing Jareth
Changing Jareth
Wennick, Elizabeth, 1972-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Victoria, B.C. : Polestar Book Publishers, 1999.
Physical Description:
278 pages ; 18 cm
Reading Level:
870 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.4 11.0 41688.

Reading Counts RC High School 5.6 15 Quiz: 19633 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Closed Stacks

On Order



"This is not a Cinderella story. There isn't a happily ever after ending-just a better than it was, and the knowledge that, though circumstance and people will always affect his life, it is Jareth who must ultimately decide who he is going to be. Today's young adult readers are critical, but Changing Jareth is sure to garner their acceptance and approval. Highly Recommended." -Canadian Materials

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 8^-11. Seventeen-year-old Jareth Gardner has enjoyed a life of petty crime until an elderly gentleman surprises him during a robbery by dying of a heart attack. Then his mother murders his sickly little brother. The two deaths shock Jareth into gaining control of his life. Although he finds it difficult to give up the easy money and excitement, he gradually pulls himself together, getting a job and helping an eighth-grader disassociate himself from a drug dealer. In her first novel, Wennick (who states that she began Changing Jareth as a teen partly because of her dissatisfaction with YA books) has created a realistic, if extreme portrait of a not-too-likeable teenager whose attitude and behavior have legitimate roots in his environment. The book is somewhat overwritten and in need of a firm editing hand, but the author has given us an interesting picture of a young man, seduced and alienated by crime, who owes his redemption to a couple of caring adults, his own anger and intellect--and luck. With many of the same writing characteristics that attracted teens to S.E. Hinton, Wennick is a young author worth watching. --Frances Bradburn

Publisher's Weekly Review

Wennick's ambitious first novel follows a Canadian teenager as he struggles to escape his troubled life. There are some powerfully gritty scenes, but unfortunately they tend to get lost in an excess of plot developments. Seventeen-year-old Jareth narrates his own story in three parts, all with melodramatic names: Corruption, Redemption and Hope. In them, he robs an old man, causing him to have a fatal heart attack, discovers his mother killed his brother, Brad, during a drunken rage, tries to kill himself and ends up in a psychiatric ward, then flees to Toronto where he meets street kids more lost than he is. In a bizarre plot twist, Jareth then saves a suburban boy from becoming a drug dealer. Each subplot could spawn a novel of its own, but strung together they are overwhelming. However, there are moving moments in between. After Brad's gruesome murder, for example, Jareth mourns him, sitting in his room (" `I miss you, kid,' I whispered. I didn't want to speak out loud anymore"). Readers will find themselves caring about Jareth, despite his mean exterior, but they may well be distracted by the nonstop hurdles in his path. Ages 12-16. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-From the very first line, in which the narrator runs from a house break-in gone wrong, both the pace and the issues raised will keep readers alert and hungry for more. In the days following the break-in, which causes an elderly occupant to die of heart failure, 17-year-old Jareth experiences several other monumental crises: his sickly younger brother dies and their alcoholic mother is arrested for beating the child to death. Jareth is removed from this onslaught of events by the intervention of his friend's stepfather, who arranges for the teen to move into the household of his boyhood friend. Jareth's lawbreaking isn't over yet, but he finds an ingenious way of halting some local drug peddling that has involved his new 13-year-old neighbor. He also gets a job, admits his talent as an artist, and stands up to his mother's manipulations. Set in contemporary Toronto, this story will pull in reluctant readers as well as those who like their plots with psychological twists. The adults in Jareth's life are flat and many seem to have mysterious motives, but his peers are as multidimensional as he is. Pair this with Robert Cormier's We All Fall Down (Dell, 1993), in which the dimensions of corruption, redemption, and hope are also explored.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.