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by Bettie Cannon

Pub Date: April 30th, 1991
ISBN: 0-684-19292-6
Publisher: Scribner

The author of the well-received A Bellsong for Sarah Raines (1987) creates another believable heroine coming to terms with her parents' strengths and imperfections. Lake Gillespie, 16, has grown up in a series of communes. Ty, her father, a born leader and organizer, has paved the way with his small inherited income; mother Selene, a gifted singer and weaver, is also an indispensable earth-mother type. But a competent, charismatic new member of the commune, Sun Dog, is a catalyst for many changes: he instigates a joyful house-painting (the painters fling paint and then their clothes) that antagonizes the locals; later, caught out as a thief, he viciously vandalizes the communal home. Meanwhile, mother Selene leaves to try a career in Nashville; Lake, fighting the separation anxiety that has followed her since a long-ago ceremony when her parents seemed to be giving her away, goes to Selene's mother seeking a senior year that will get her into college. As she tries to take charge of her future and make sense of her disparate past, Lake is believably intelligent and levelheaded, reluctantly turning down the fascinating Sun Dog, trying to make peace between Grandmother and Selene, realizing that she can model herself on the best of each. Along the way, the picture of a commune, its function a complex blend of its members' exercise and abrogation of their individuality, is vivid, well-reasoned, and often amusing. A memorable, thought- provoking coming-of-age novel. (Fiction. 12+)