Box Girl


181 pages
ISBN 0-88899-436-2
DDC jC813'.54





Reviewed by Sheila Martindale

Sheila Martindale is poetry editor of Canadian Author and Bookman and
the author of No Greater Love.


Five years earlier Gwen’s mother left home and did not come back. Now
13, the young teen is receiving postcards from her mother who lives in
Europe. Longing to see her, Gwen creates an elaborate “spell” which,
if it is done just right, will result in her mother sending for her. The
spell involves building a box out of the postcards she has received,
then psychologically putting herself inside it so that she can
communicate by mental telepathy with her mother. Gwen is so focused on
reuniting with her mother that she even foregoes making friends—why
bother to make them when at any minute she might be sent for? But, that
is not the only reason she is a loner. She has another dark secret that
she does not want anyone to know about: her father is homosexual. Then,
Gwen meets Clara, a new girl at school who is refreshingly different. As
they become friends, secrets begin to emerge that could threaten their

Withrow has captured beautifully Gwen and Clara’s secret worlds in
this gritty and courageous novel. Box Girl tackles some difficult
topics, including eating disorders and homosexuality, with grace and
sensitivity. Highly recommended.


Withrow, Sarah., “Box Girl,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 25, 2024,