Tag Archives: perfect cut

Why I Write for Teens? Thanks to All of You!!

Dylan has amazing hair. He told me how to do it, but I forgot…

Forest of Trees Award Ceremony

This is Dylan and I at Harbourfront. He was one of the hundreds of amazing young adults I’ve been lucky enough to meet, talk to and interact with this week at the OLA Forest of Trees Ceremony as well as in schools in Southern Ontario.

I didn’t win the award, that honour went to Pam Bustin for her novel Mostly Happy and I can’t wait to read her book. I did spend a whole week reading, workshopping and being with my readers and I am so thankful for their incredible support and enthusiasm. For all of you who cried while reading the The Perfect Cut, and then told me how much the story meant to you, I thank you…You never know, I might be back again 🙂

1 Comment

Filed under Events and Readings, My Books Reviewed


This year the OLA has partnered with Authors’ Booking Service to assist nominees with bookings. We are pleased to help coordinate school and library visits for all nominees who wish to take advantage of the OLA’s arrangement. There is, of course, absolutely no charge to the OLA, or to schools or libraries, for this service.

Visit this page on our site for links to information on the OLA Nominees we can help you with!

And the Nominees are:

White Pine

The Perfect Cut by Julie Burtinshaw

Book of Michael by Lesley Choyce

Cracked up to Be by Courtney Summers

Getting the Girl by Susan Juby

Half World by Hiromi Goto

The Landing by John Ibbitson

Mostly Happy by Pam Bustin

Sister Wife by Shelley Hrdlitschka

The Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Leave a comment

Filed under Events and Readings

Perfect Cut Nominated for OLA Award!

I will always think of Yellow Knife as the city where I received the thrilling news that The Perfect Cut is one of ten books across Canada nominated by the Ontario Library Association for the White Pine Award.

“Ontario Library Association Teen Reading Program featuring Canada’s best in YA fiction!”

Yipee!!! White Pine Nominee

This is One Happy Writer

I am sitting in Javaroma Cafe in Yellow Knife – one of the few places – as far as I can tell with WiFi. We’ll be heading out to the galleries soon, but blogging and suite come first every day.

It’s cold and I’m going home tomorrow for bubbly with family and friends. Lots to celebrate: Besides the White Pine nomination, Jennifer is engaged to Nicky!!! Wow!


Filed under Events and Readings

Perfect Cut Reviewed in Globe and Mail

Good mourning
The Globe And Mail
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Page: D15
Section: Book Review Special Report
Byline: Sherie Posesorski


By Julie Burtinshaw

Raincoast, 308 pages, $11.95

‘You can’t sit shivah forever,” the narrator of Andrew Holleran’s novel Grief is told by
friend, exasperated by how long he has been grieving the death of his mother. “Yes, you
can,” he replies.

So too would reply 17-year-old Bryan Bianchi, still consumed by grief two years after the
death of his adored older sister Michelle, in Vancouver author Julie Burtinshaw’s fourth
teen novel, The Perfect Cut.

His father orders his wife to remove all pictures of Michelle from the house. He seldom
mentions her name, doing so only to shame Bryan over his inability to move on, and to
imply contemptuously that, in his eyes, the wrong child died. While his mother seems to
go along, she has turned Michelle’s room into “The Michelle Shrine,” as Bryan puts it,
retreating there with her anguish, regrets and memories that she is unable to share with
Bryan, as he is unable to share his with her. Each is isolated in his or her sorrowful
fortress of solitude.

Bryan remains the little brother who admired, idolized and emulated his big sister even
more in death than he did in life. The rebellious, defiant Michelle was his protector,
defending him especially against his father’s verbal bullying. She was also his companion
and teacher, jump-starting his interest in music and guitar playing. The corrosive
cocktail of anger, grief, loss and longing for Michelle is intensified by the guilt he
feels for his complicity – unwilling though it was – in the circumstances of Michelle’s
death, a secret whose weight only grows more crushing as time passes.

“Death ends a life, but not a relationship,” U.S. psychologist Therese A. Rando has
written. In many ways, Michelle’s relationship to Bryan is even stronger in death – it’s
his closest relationship still. He is so haunted by her that he believes he hears her
voice and can see her ghost, egging him on.

The most intriguing element of the novel is Burtinshaw’s acute rendering of how Bryan
keeps Michelle alive in his life by living life as she did. Just like Michelle, to
express rage and relieve tension and stress, and as only Bryan knew, he begins to injure
himself by cutting and burning himself with cigarettes. When the fleeting endorphin high
that comes with cutting dissipates, Bryan numbs himself with vodka he steals from his
mother’s stash, and with drugs.

Initially, Burtinshaw provides an intensely close-up focus on Bryan’s cutting. Described
in such an excess of detail, it soon feels claustrophobic emotionally and dramatically, a
bell jar with the reader also underneath the jar, with no air or vision of the outside
world, for too long a stretch.

The novel springs to life in a gripping interlude where Bryan befriends a runaway,
homeless meth addict named Chris. Chris is vividly and touchingly captured; however, the
other characters are flatly executed types (particularly the therapist with the cutesy
eccentricities and cloying therapy sessions), giving Bryan no other character of
substance to play against.

Burtinshaw switches back and forth between third- and first-person narratives,
obtrusively slipping in expository snippets from the points of view of Bryan’s mother,
therapist and housekeeper, to supply the counterweight of mature viewpoints on his
self-destructive path.

While the treatment of cutting is clinically correct and plausibly handled, the
trajectory of Bryan’s pain, catharsis and recovery is less absorbing and persuasive than
it might have been. He is sympathetically drawn, but defined too narrowly by his
pathology and grief. In Margo Rabb’s YA novel Cures for Heartache, teenage Mia’s
perspective on the death of her mother comes across as uniquely hers: a blackly comic,
genuinely poignant evocation of her experience and a wistful mediation on it.

“What is the point of mourning?” Andrew Holleran writes in Grief. “Just this –
faithfulness. And love.”

Only when the tenacious pain of grief evolves into mourning is Bryan finally able to let
go of his grief and guilt, realizing that doesn’t mean having to let go of loving and
missing Michelle.

Sherie Posesorski’s teen novel about 16-year-old grieving the death of her mother will be
published next year.

© 2008 CTVglobemedia Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved.

1 Comment

Filed under Events and Readings

House of Parlance Media Hires Acquisitions Editor

House of Parlance is a two year old Vancouver publisher run by Cathy Barrett, formerly of Nettwerk Records, and Sandy Garossino, board member of the Vancouver International Writers Festival. They are known for their graphic novels, poetry and digital downloads — in other words they are a publishing house with a vision and therefore, in my mind, a future.

The exciting news is that they have hired Tonya Martin to be their Editorial Director in charge of Acquisitions. Tonya was my brilliant editor for my soon to be released book, The Perfect Cut.” Although we only worked together on one book, we quickly developed a strong working and personal relationship and I count her as both a friend and a mentor.

To date, House of Parlance has published two books, but they hope to increase their list to six within the next two years. I’m sure they will succeed, after all, they were smart enough to snatch up Tonya from the ruins of the now defunct publishing arm of Raincoast Books.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized