Chat Room


108 pages
ISBN 1-55143-529-2
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.


When Marc Solomon, “student council president and one of the most
popular guys in school,” announces at a school assembly that Chad
Sharp, a Grade 9 computer geek, has set up chat rooms on Wellington
High’s website, Linda Copley is warned by fellow Grade 9 student
Janice Beasley (nicknamed Beastly because of her in-your-face
negativity) that “[c]hat rooms are nothing but hangouts for perverts.
Anybody who visits them is asking for trouble.” Not wanting to be
pushed around by Janice, Linda initially decides just to lurk in the
chat rooms, but, intrigued by someone having logged in under the
nickname Cyrano, Linda registers herself as Roxane. Shy in public social
situations, Linda finds herself at ease within the anonymity of the chat
rooms, even more so when chatting with Cyrano. Curious about Cyrano’s
real identity, Linda interprets his mentioning what he’ll be wearing
at a school basketball game as a hint that she should also provide him
with a visual sign. Though the signals misfire, a flower and other gifts
Linda receives, each signed “C,” convinces her that Cyrano is
romantically interested in her.

The plot takes a seemingly sinister turn when Marc Solomon offers Linda
a ride home during a rainstorm and reveals that he’s Cyrano and knows
she’s Roxane. However, all turns out well when Linda learns that the
gifts came not from Cyrano, as she had assumed, but from the bashful
Chad Sharp.

Chat Room is a good high-interest, low-vocabulary read for reluctant
female middle-schoolers. Recommended.


Butcher, Kristin., “Chat Room,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024,