THE DARK CARD by Amy Ehrlich

THE DARK CARD

Age Range: 14 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Still deeply disturbed by her mother's death, Laura, 17, talks her business-preoccupied father into letting her stay alone at the family house near Atlantic City while he, older sister Heather, and Heather's fiance, Leo, go back to New York. Quietly acting out her abandonment and pain, Laura lets her long-standing friendship with neighbor Gabrielle lapse; absent-mindedly drifts beyond the breakers and has to be rescued; then, using an ID stolen from Heather and her mother's make-up to pass herself off as 21, goes to Atlantic City. First drawn by Gabrielle's nice older brother Billy, a dealer a the Trump casino, she's soon enmeshed in gambling and with a gambler, Ari, who feeds her expensive dinners and finally takes her to his room, where he asks her to undress--and then wants nothing more of her. In the events that follow, Laura realizes that the experience was not just humiliating but a narrow escape. She calls her father for help but, true to form, he doesn't come; instead, he sends Leo. Even minor characters here are well drawn (e.g., Gabrielle and Billy's nurturing mother, whose outrage at Laura's behavior eventually explodes), while relationships are deftly portrayed (Billy's affection and scrupulous regard for Laura's youth; Laura's realization that, even alive, Mom hadn't paid her much attention). Ari and the gambling table provide enough potential menace to keep the suspense taut. A well-structured cautionary tale that also thoughtfully explores the complicated feelings that can follow the loss of a flawed parent.~(Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-670-83733-4
Page count: 180pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1991




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