Bright and conscientious, Ann struggles with being the youngest and least popular in 5th grade and with her frightening resentment of her 5-year-old sister in this autobiographical first novel. Little Isabelle, 5, is pretty and unfailingly cheerful; both parents are wise, firm, and understanding. Small wonder that Ann deplores her own feelings. Forever setting herself difficult tasks which she fails to complete, she begins to dream of a gypsy girl who knocks at her window. Her search for the identity of the dream girl intensifies until, after Ann and Isabelle are sent off on a trip alone together and Ann begins to see Isabelle as a loved sister, the dream also resolves: the gypsy is Isabelle herself. Written in spare, unclichÃ‰d language, the narrative has the ring of authenticity that comes from remembered experience. Ann, still self-blaming, depicts her family as faultless. Ann herself is a complex blend of a gifted mind that intellectualizes everything, a classic older sibling, and a quirky person we'd be delighted to know if only she'd stop telling us how bright she is. Fans of Lowry's Anastasia will love her.