This utterly fresh and winning collection of verse is in the voice of an unnamed teenager, whom readers will come to know really well through her introspective and spot-on observations. During the course of a school year in California that is divided into sections (Autumn, Winter, Spring), she welcomes back her best friend Leslie and then has a fight with her, plays Mozart duets on her violin with Yen-Mei, and learns about kissing with Carlo. She is a writer, and she works at it, and she's dazzled when her teacher, in his honey-sweet Tennessee accent, suggests she's good enough to be published in "Faan Powms." She tries out for drama club, hangs out with her Great Aunt Ida, and ruefully examines her pull-and-tug relationship with an older sister. Employing many forms of verse, some rhymed, some not, she even writes a sonnet; all of them are accessible and exquisitely crafted. "Rehearsal" says in its entirety: "This music is so / amazing, it builds a nest / of tears in my throat." She notes wryly when an annoying boy stops hanging around her "And lately I have missed / being annoyed." Clayton's (Three Rotten Eggs
, p. 339, etc.) illustrations, a mix of collage and sketches, hint at each subject often in amusing or wry corollaries. The narrator says a great deal about writing: "I want to / make something / beautiful. / Peaches.
/ If I could / make peaches—grow them / from my pen . . . " She gets her wish. (author's note) (Poetry. 11-14)Read full book review >