Chan (Golden Girl, p. 1219) returns to mythical Elmwood High for this second collection of interrelated short stories. The opening piece, ""Singing the Blues,"" is an enjoyable character sketch of conformist Rachel, 15, who moves in with her friend's family in protest against her unconventional parents. When Rachel recognizes the same selfish interest within herself that drives her friend's yuppified parents, she becomes the prodigal daughter. Chan proves adept at recreating adolescent angst and awkwardness, and her characters grapple with such weighty issues as altruism vs. greed. But the stories also possess a sinister and slightly unnerving quality. Art, the speaker of ""The Boy Most Likely,"" remains as spoiled, snobbish, and egotistical at the end of a community outreach project as be was at the beginning, and therefore, Chan insinuates, a perfect candidate for politics. The female speaker in ""Invisible Girl"" realizes, too late, that her father, a police officer, was correct about her new boyfriend's bad reputation: After foiling an attempted rape, she can only turn to her father for salvation. Family reconciliations are not always possible; in ""Glory Days,"" Michael no longer talks to his father due to a difference of opinion about his father's need to succeed. Certainly this audience needs to know that their actions can have serious and regrettable consequences, but they'll have to look elsewhere for stories of personal salvation and the redemptive power of love.
Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997
Page Count: 118
Publisher: "Kids Can Press (85 River Rock Dr., Buffalo, NY 14207)"