Twelve-year-old Mariah envisions a great summer competing as a diver and planning a surprise party for her sister Lynn but half-sister Denise proves a cloud in Mariah's sunny summer
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Grade 3-6-- In this sequel to Mariah Loves Rock (Bradbury, 1988), the 11-year-old black heroine begins her summer facing several challenges. First, she plans to enter an all-city swim meet never before attempted by children from their local recreation center. Then, her beloved older sister Lynn is acting mysteriously, and Mariah wants to know why. Finally, her 16-year-old half-sister Denise has come to live with the Metcalfs, and her disdain of rules and order is disrupting the family harmony. Hard work yields swim team success in the face of prejudice by some of the other participants, and Mariah discovers that Lynn is secretly volunteering at a homeless shelter. Overcoming her third challenge, handling her jealousy of her father's attention to Denise and coming to an understanding of her half-sister's behavior, requires all the maturity Mariah can muster. While the characters, setting, and dialogue ring true, the simplistic handling of a shuffled-around half-sister who feels courtesy and discipline cramp her style is less than satisfying. At the very least, one would expect the assimilation of a troubled teenager into a family would require tremendous parental effort, and none is in evidence. The father travels a lot and, when home, is not particularly sensitive to the family dynamics; the stepmother's resentment of the intruder is below the surface but still there. Young readers, however, will probably not tune into these nuances.
- Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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