Books by Lois Metzger

CHANGE PLACES WITH ME by Lois Metzger
YOUNG ADULT
Released: June 14, 2016

"An interesting, experimental near-future character study. (Science fiction. 12-18)"
Rose, a quiet, shy girl living in New York City in 2029, suddenly comes out of her shell. Read full book review >
A TRICK OF THE LIGHT by Lois Metzger
YOUNG ADULT
Released: June 18, 2013

"An ambitious and unusual take on teens and eating disorders—but not an entirely satisfactory one. (Fiction. 12-18)"
A young stop-motion-film enthusiast's encounter with anorexia, as narrated by...his eating disorder? Read full book review >
MISSING GIRLS by Lois Metzger
Released: Feb. 1, 1999

A girl's interest in family history overlaps a coming-of-age story about her vestigial understanding of her mother after death, and her own awareness of self and place in the world. Junior high-school student Carrie Schmidt identifies strongly with the missing girls of 1967's headlines about runaways. Carrie's mother is dead and she has just moved in with her grandmother, Mutti, who embarrasses her with her foreign accent and ways. Carrie's ideal is her friend Mona's mother, a "professional" who dresses properly, smells good, and knows how to set out a table; readers will grasp the mother's superficiality, even though Carrie, at first, does not. Mutti has terror in her past, and tells Carrie stories of the Jews in WWII Vienna, and of subsequent events in nine concentration camps; these are mined under the premise that Carrie needs stories for "dream" material and her interest in so-called lucid dreaming, a diverting backdrop that deepens the story without overwhelming it. Mutti's gripping, terrible tales and the return of an old friend who raised Carrie's mother when she was sent to Scotland at age nine awaken in Carrie a connection to her current family, to her ancestry, and, ultimately, to a stronger sense of self. This uncommon novel from Metzger (Ellen's Case, 1995, etc.) steps out of the genre of historical fiction to tell a story as significant to contemporary readers as to the inhabitants of the era it evokes. (Fiction. 10-14) Read full book review >
ELLEN'S CASE by Lois Metzger
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

At 16, Ellen is a veteran of tending her preschool-age brother, Barry, who has cerebral palsy. When her mother decides to go to court to determine whether or not his condition is the result of a botched delivery, Ellen resists; she is not sure that a prolonged legal proceeding is in anyone's best interest. One meeting with handsome, talented, and middle-aged attorney Jack Frazier changes her mind; she falls in love with him, and it isn't long before she sees the trial as a way to bring the two of them together. The trial is detailed and more than a little off-putting: The doctor seems neither bright nor concerned and the defense attorney is a posturing fool. Disrupting the narrative is the continual explanation of legal terms (sustained, overruled, etc.) that any reader with a television will know. Predictably, Frazier's brilliant courtroom technique overwhelms the defense and Barry wins a settlement for $11 million. Just as predictably, Ellen discovers that Frazier is happily married. This sequel to Barry's Sister (1992) is riddled with good intentions blown off course by cautionary elements. (Fiction. 10+) Read full book review >
BARRY'S SISTER by Lois Metzger
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 30, 1992

Ellen's euphoric start in seventh grade ends abruptly when she learns that her mother is pregnant—``I think Ellen's got a touch of sibling rivalry fever,'' her father says of her unenthusiastic response to the news. After baby brother Barry is diagnosed as having cerebral palsy, Ellen's burden of anger and guilt culminates in shoplifting and illness. With the help of her mother's new friend Maribeth, mother of a teenager with CP, they learn to cope with Barry's needs and their own feelings. Freedom from guilt opens Ellen's heart; she becomes totally absorbed with Barry, even fighting her father's attempts to care for him. Stressed when he regresses after Dad returns to sea duty, Ellen accidentally overmedicates Barry and her mother severely restricts her involvement in his care, insisting they share activities without him. Gradually, Ellen does develop her own life, complete with best friend, potential boyfriend, and a new closeness to her father, now home for two years. Metzger has a vivid and incisive narrative style, but this ambitious first novel is too long, too full, and not always credible, while overly intent messages distance the reader. Nonetheless, the focus on Ellen and her struggles with the complexities of growing up, sorting out her identity, and establishing her place in a family in crisis does result in a story with appeal for patient readers. (Fiction. 10+) Read full book review >