When Mary's emotionally distant parents send her to summer camp to help her cope with her infant sister's death, she befriends the sullen, solitary Laura, but it is Laura's betrayal, not friendship, that ultimately brings Mary closer to recovery.
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Jane Denitz Smith was born in Allentown, PA, and graduated from Clark University. Her first book, Mary, By Myself, was hailed as "an impressive first novel from a promising new author" by Horn Book Magazine. She is also the author of Charlie is a Chicken published by HarperCollins. An English teacher and mother of three children, Ms. Smith lives in Massachusetts.From School Library Journal:
Grade 5-7-After the crib-death of Felicity, Mary and her parents are so locked in their individual grief that they seem incapable of helping one another. Unable to communicate her pain, Mary acts out her unhappiness in some disturbing ways such as developing a fascination with lighting matches and watching them burn. Her parents decide that a change of scenery might help her and send her off to summer camp. At Camp Pine Grove, she meets Laura, who dabbles in voodoo, seances, and petty cruelty; and overweight, outgoing Celeste. Laura quickly draws Mary into her exclusive inner circle and chooses Celeste to tease and scorn. Slowly, Mary realizes how manipulative and insecure Laura really is compared to Celeste, who is a sincere, confident, and caring friend. These insights into her relationships with others help her to work out her difficulties with her parents. As the story ends, some healing has taken place. The problems of rejection, loneliness, and loss are sensitively treated. The characters are complex and believable as they relate to one another and face situations in their families and with others in society. Mary's first-person narrative reassures readers that the human spirit can overcome adversity through love, kindness, and strength.
Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Harpercollins, 1994. Library Binding. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 60245182