REMEMBER ME TO HAROLD SQUARE
This lightweight, romantic teen novel floats atop a tour of New York City. Like oil and water, the two don't mix well. Westsider Kendra Kaye (14) and her cheeky little brother Oscar ("So what does S.W.A.K. mean? She Was A Kangaroo?") are saddled for part of the summer with Frank (15), a Wisconsin farm boy from a troubled family. Rather than have the young folk sit around, their parents present them with a sort of scavenger hunt, a list of things to do, places to visit, cuisines to sample and questions about NYC to answer; they'll have to scramble, but if they get through the list their reward is a trip to England. Despite some obstacles, Frank and Kendra hit it off, and by the end of the summer their friendship has become something more intense. This much Danziger handles in her usual cheery, sympathetic way, with plenty of rapid-fire puns delivered by a cast of sane characters willing to recognize problems and talk things out. The travelog doesn't come off so well. The list is confined to Manhattan places below about 125th Street (they go to a Mets game, but that's an afterthought), so readers get only a tourist's-eye view of the city, and except for an excited visit to the set of All My Children and a sobering one to the Jewish Museum, the characters', reactions range from "Awesome!" to "It is so sad." Most of the meals, performances, museums, and sights are hardly noticed, much less described. The author does communicate an upbeat, positive impression of life in the Big Apple, but it's a vague impression, from a single angle.