186 pages
ISBN 0-02-954137-9
DDC jC813'.54





Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson

Dave Jenkinson is Associate Dean of the Faculty of Education at the
University of Manitoba.


In some of his mainstream young-adult novels, such as Moonkid and
Liberty and Getting Even, Kropp effectively utilized a pair of
alternating narrators. Ellen/Eléna/Luna offers an interesting twist on
this stylistic device by providing three central characters in one.
Ellen Bertrand, a Grade 11 reporter for Toronto’s city-wide student
newspaper, the Zinger, is tired of being a wannabe and decides that
“I’ve got to become more interesting” by doing something unusual.
In response, best-friend Janey Hildasdauttir, the paper’s
editor-in-chief, suggests a story idea calling for Ellen to place an ad
in the Zinger’s personal classified, date some of the responses, and
then write about her experiences.

The remainder of the book follows Ellen as, unknown to her parents, she
follows through on dates with two respondents: Tooner, a 20-year-old
punk cartoonist, and Garrett Watson, an amateur filmmaker who attends an
exclusive private school. Reluctant to use her own identity, Ellen
adopts a different persona for each date. With Tooner, she becomes Luna
Hilton, invents an artsy history, and redoes her appearance via makeup,
hairdo, and dress. Ellen dates Garrett in the guise of the
sophisticated, worldly Eléna Hilton, transforming her taxi-driving
father and supermarket-cashier mother into a famous poet and a
watercolor painter who run an art colony in Mexico. Though Luna’s date
with Tooner is essentially disastrous, Eléna and Garrett become
strongly attracted to each other. Having created a fiction, Eléna does
not know how to extricate herself from her lies without losing Garrett.
Everything seemingly unravels at a major social event where
Ellen/Eléna/Luna encounters her father, Garrett, and Tooner.

The surname (Hilton) Ellen adopts is that of her 75-year-old maternal
grandmother, who is living with the Bertrands while recuperating from a
broken hip. Through this delightful septuagenarian, Kropp erases the
senior-citizen stereotype, for Granny Bo is a feisty character whose
attitude toward life, as exemplified by her motto—carpe diem (seize
the day)—and “spry” behaviors, shows that romance and sex know no
age limit.

A fun romp for middle- and senior-school collections.


Kropp, Paul., “Ellen/Eléna/Luna,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 16, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/24712.