FROZEN RODEO

Those who find it funny that a former skating pro would name his twin daughter and son Torvill and Dean will be amused by this slice-of-life story set in the West. Peggy Fleming Farrell, who insists on being called “Fleming,” describes the eventful summer between her junior and senior years during which she pursues romance and adjusts to family changes. Fleming spends the months working at a mini coffee shop in a gas station, baby-sitting for her three much younger siblings, taking French classes where the teacher never shows up, and going to Lamaze classes with her pregnant mother. With Charlotte, her new friend from French class, Fleming also hits the social spots in their small town, hoping to rekindle a short-lived romance with a waiter at the local pancake house. But ultimately, the story concerns family dynamics more than romance as Fleming starts to focus on her future while her parents prepare for a new baby and her father hopes for a comeback in skating. Despite the jumble of elements, neither the plot nor the character development is substantial. The humor tends towards the slapstick, such as Fleming’s father skating with live farm animals at the rodeo. Clark (Wurst Case Scenario, 2001, etc.) has fashioned a slight and slightly funny story that will provide light entertainment for the not-too-demanding reader. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-009070-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2003

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

BURIED ONIONS

Eddie, a young Mexican-American scraping by in the mean streets of Fresno, California, counts four dead relatives and one dead friend in the opening, in-your-face lines of this new novel from Soto (Snapshots from the Wedding, p. 228, etc.). In bleak sentences of whispered beauty, Eddie tells how he dropped out of vocational college and is attempting to get by with odd jobs. His aunt and friends want him to avenge the recent murder of his cousin, but Eddie just wants to find a way out. Everything he tries turns soura stint doing yard work ends when his boss's truck is stolen on Eddie's watchand life is a daily battle for survival. This unrelenting portrait is unsparing in squalid details: The glue sniffers, gangs, bums, casual knifings, filth, and stench are in the forefront of a life without much hope``Laundry wept from the lines, the faded flags of poor, ignorant, unemployable people.'' Soto plays the tale straightthe only sign of a ``happy'' ending is in Eddie's joining the Navy. The result is a sort of Fresno Salaam Bombay without the pockets of humanity that gave the original its charm. A valuable tale, it's one that makes no concessions. (glossary) (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-15-201333-4

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1997

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

WHAT THE MOON SAW

When Clara Luna, 14, visits rural Mexico for the summer to visit the paternal grandparents she has never met, she cannot know her trip will involve an emotional and spiritual journey into her family’s past and a deep connection to a rich heritage of which she was barely aware. Long estranged from his parents, Clara’s father had entered the U.S. illegally years before, subsequently becoming a successful business owner who never spoke about what he left behind. Clara’s journey into her grandmother’s history (told in alternating chapters with Clara’s own first-person narrative) and her discovery that she, like her grandmother and ancestors, has a gift for healing, awakens her to the simple, mystical joys of a rural lifestyle she comes to love and wholly embrace. Painfully aware of not fitting into suburban teen life in her native Maryland, Clara awakens to feeling alive in Mexico and realizes a sweet first love with Pedro, a charming goat herder. Beautifully written, this is filled with evocative language that is rich in imagery and nuance and speaks to the connections that bind us all. Add a thrilling adventure and all the makings of an entrancing read are here. (glossaries) (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2006

ISBN: 0-385-73343-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2006

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more