|Title||Dead End Job|
|Year of Publication||2005|
|Publisher||Orca Book Publishers|
Set in a small town in the Maritimes, Dead-end job is a short realistic fiction novel ideal for reluctant teen readers. The book is narrated in the first person by Frances, a teenage girl who works night shifts at the Highway Byway convenience store at the edge of town. Frances is a talented artist, and plans to move away to attend art college once she graduates from high school: a sign of accomplishment that makes her boyfriend, Leo, jealous and insecure. Matters between Frances and Leo become even more strained, however, when a strange young man named Devin arrives in town and begins following Frances around. Their seemingly random encounters become more and more sinister as Devin proclaims his undying love for Frances, and insists ever more forcefully that he cannot live without her. Dead-end job addresses themes of honesty, bravery, and love.
The pastels Leo gave me only came from the Dollar Store, but they meant a lot to me. I knew he didn’t want me to go to art college. But he gave me something to help get there anyway.
As a thank-you, I decided to draw him a picture. That Tuesday on my free period I sat behind the school and sketched the football team practicing. (Hey, he’s a jock. That’s the type of picture he likes).
It was a disaster. Like I said, the pastels meant a lot to me – but they were still cheap. They broke. They smudged too much. Or they wouldn’t smudge at all. I had no control over what I was putting on the paper. It was frustrating.
I was just about to pack up my stuff when this little spray of pebbles landed on my lap.
“Don’t be scared!” someone whispered.
I turned and saw Devin tiptoeing up to me.
He was going, “Easy, girl. Eeeeeeea-sy.”
It was kind of funny. He was acting like I was this wild animal that could attack at any moment. I couldn’t help myself. I laughed.