Joss and Fletcher, now 13, have been inseparable since she moved to Higham, Mass., six years back--when her father started...



Joss and Fletcher, now 13, have been inseparable since she moved to Higham, Mass., six years back--when her father started teaching at Smith-like Brownwyn. (Fletcher's father is the school psychologist.) Joss was taller even then; now she's also becoming, to her discomfiture, ""a teenage Dolly Parton."" Fletcher, willy-nilly, has sex on the brain. Trickier--for O'Connor's teenage romantic/realistic awakening--Fletcher is a charming nerd, of the new Woody Allen breed; but unlike Joss (or the WA persona), he's daring--unfazed when Katherine Hepburn puts in a cameo appearance (complaining, in a movie theater, that she can't see over Joss), unafraid to see evil. Joss' dashing father, up for tenure, is in a foul mood, and spending lots of time with an admiring student. Her mousey mother, busy helping visiting-prof Macdunna prepare a lecture on Higham landmarks, has been acting strangely too. Joss has a super-crush on tall, wayward preppy Twig, who sometimes seems to be interested. (They're both, they decide, ""repressed."") But she's devastated when the inevitable lunge by Fletcher, and her startled recoil, causes a break between them--with Fletcher turning to her nice, light-weight friend Laura (who, astonishingly, reciprocates), and cutting Joss cold. What does her mother mean, too, with her talk about marrying and having a baby ""for all the wrong reasons""? If Joss doesn't really know Fletcher, or Laura, or her parents--""That meant everyone was all alone with their secrets."" Joss will discover that the writer of the romantic-diary-in-the-attic (the book's one stock device) wasn't ever-faithful to her lost swain; and that her mother has been having a romance--probably but not certainly an affair--with Professor Macdunna. Now: ""Daddy and I want to try to make things work. That's all I can promise."" As for Joss-and-Twig-and-Laura-and-Fletcher, the four are double-dating: what will happen there is a mystery too. Riveting from the first line (""Can you honestly picture your parents doing it?""), narrated with verve, bracingly open-ended.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1983


Page Count: -

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1983

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