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Fourteen-year-old Susan (or, as she prefers to be called, Sybil) has been trying to reinvent herself ever since the mysterious disappearance of her older sister, Alison. Life has been very confusing since Alison left. Susan’s mother has become overly protective, fearful of losing another child. Her new school is not all bad, of course, but it is different and puzzling. Her best friend, Connie, has what could be a wonderful idea or maybe it has the makings of a disaster: if they sign up for the school play, they might end up with dates for the freshman dance.
Readers will empathize with Susan’s attempt to make sense of her confused world, the loss of her sister, a new school, turmoil at home, and the growing pains of adolescence. But Susan, despite all, remains bright, funny, and self aware with the help of a new and intelligently supportive stepfather and a lively group of school friends. The story is believable and touching and distinguished by the narrator’s voice.
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Vivian Vande Velde has written many books for teen and middle grade readers, including Heir Apparent, User Unfriendly, All Hallow's Eve: 13 Stories, Three Good Deeds, Now You See It ..., and the Edgar Award–winning Never Trust a Dead Man. She lives in Rochester, New York. Visit her website at www.vivianvandevelde.com.From School Library Journal:
Gr 6-9-It seems that 14-year-old Sibyl's most pressing problem is finding an acceptable date for the freshman dance at their all-girls school. Not to worry! Best friend, Connie, cooks up a plan that gets them cast in the play at Cardinal O'Gorman High, the all-boys school nearby. Most of the novel's surface action plays out against the backdrop of their rehearsals, with the normal teen-angst problems of boys, bad hair, and bratty brothers. Under the surface, however, much more is going on in Sibyl's life. Slowly, mostly through a series of flashbacks, readers learn from Sibyl that she has a gay father who left when she was five; a five-year-old, bed-wetting half-brother who can't adjust to life (but readers don't know why he is so unstable); a mother who is obsessively overprotective; and an older sister who left home three years ago and hasn't been heard from since. Through the course of the novel, readers slowly realize that the family is in denial that Alison may have been one of the prostitutes murdered by serial killer Robert Deitz. With this slight novel, Vande Velde, who is best known for her fantasies, has dived into the realism genre headfirst. Unfortunately, the book reads as though the author went down the list and tried to include every adolescent problem she could think of for her protagonist to deal with. The result is a somewhat shallow, unsatisfying story.-Betty S. Evans, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0618045856