Adam and Eve and Pinch-Me


180 pages
ISBN 1-895555-62-0
DDC jC813'.54





Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson

Dave Jenkinson is a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba and the author of the “Portraits” section of Emergency Librarian.


The high-quality writing in Johnston’s award-winning first novel, Hero
of Lesser Causes, is repeated in this, her second. At the story’s
February opening, Sara Moone, a ward of the Children’s Aid Society,
eagerly awaits her 16th birthday, some six months away, for it marks the
date she can legally leave school and live independently. Sara’s
experiences in countless foster homes have taught her not to get close
to people because they keep disappearing. Instead, she has decided that
“the way to get along in the world is to be invisible.” Continuing
to confide her innermost thoughts only to her computer’s memory, Sara
moves to the small community of Ambrose, Ontario, where she encounters
another—and, she hopes, final—set of foster parents, the childless
Huddlestons, loquacious “Ma” and laconic “Hud,” plus their
foster children, 4-year-old Josh, and Nick, whose age is indeterminate.
Living with the quartet, Sara unwillingly, but increasingly, finds
herself behaving like a family participant and not just a captive
spectator. Compounding Sara’s disquietude is her knowledge that her
birth mother is trying to contact her. When a stranger searching for a
daughter comes to Ambrose, Sara is convinced “The Woman” is her
mother. As a child must discover the correct answer, “Pinch-me-not,”
to the painful children’s riddle, Sara must learn a better response
than invisibility to life’s real puzzles.

Johnston’s ability to reproduce the varying styles of people’s
speech contributes much to character development, and her scenes
involving the Elite Café’s habitués are superb. Young-adult readers
will be attracted to this emotionally powerful story. Highly


Johnston, Julie., “Adam and Eve and Pinch-Me,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 7, 2023,