Books by Diane Stevens

LIZA'S STAR WISH by Diane Stevens
Released: Oct. 1, 1997

After a year of the grief and turmoil following her sister Holly's drowning, Liza, 14, doesn't want to leave San Antonio to spend the summer in Rockport, Texas, with her cranky, self- centered, bigoted grandmother, Mama Lacey, who has broken her hip. Liza's whole family is still grieving; her mother reads lots of self-help books and tries to pull things together with organized discussions. Liza is angry at everyone, and not always reasonably: Among her targets are her best friend, Chloe, for moving to Houston, and Holly, for dying. Once Liza is in Rockport, sending E- mails to her sweetly individualistic boyfriend makes home seem closer. When Chloe visits, Liza is surprised to find out that best friends can do a lot of growing apart in different cities, and recognizes a side of Chloe that is disquieting. As a reaction to Chloe's rigid perception of honesty, Liza begins to navigate her own path of tolerance and understanding. With skill, Stevens (Liza's Blue Moon, 1995) depicts the complicated nuances of emotions and behavior within a family—the hopes, disappointments, misplaced but well-intentioned efforts, and small acts of courage that hit home. As a result, Liza and her family are very real, while Chloe, a necessary foil, is only slightly less believable. A thoughtful novel, written with great feeling. (Fiction. 9-11) Read full book review >
LIZA'S BLUE MOON by Diane Stevens
Released: March 1, 1995

Liza thinks everyone else has a better life than she does; her younger sister Holly is perfect, her best friend Chloe has perfect parents and no siblings, and her sort-of boyfriend Forrest has always known what he wanted to be (a podiatrist). Liza, on the other hand, is jealous of her sister, has parents who don't seem to care much about her, and has caught her father philandering. When she writes a sterling essay on Hester Prynne's shame, her teacher refuses to believe that she wrote it and insists that it be done over. Liza worships her teacher, and doesn't have the courage to stand up to her. Suburban adolescent angst can be pretty tiresome, but Stevens' punchy prose enlivens the proceedings. No doubt many teenagers will see themselves in Liza, who has a long list of things she hates, spends a lot of her time feeling sorry for herself and worrying what others think of her, and is afraid she has no personality. The side of herself she shows to the world is fairly bland, but the inner life she exhibits in this first-person narration is anything but. A tragedy near the end feels gratuitously tacked on, but the rest of this likable teen's story is realistic. An interesting, if flawed debut novel with pungent writing that keeps it moving. (Fiction. 10+)*justify no* Read full book review >