GOING LIVE by Coleen E. Booth


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A young African-American makes an excellent debut with a novel about a TV performer rehearsing a new show. There's a lot going on in Delaney's life, and she's handling it with mixed success. With her widowed mother's reluctant approval, she'll be the youngest of three hosts on the show, a new kind of role that entails a summer of preparation. Mom, a dentist, is suddenly dating her partner, and Delaney is affronted because he's white and because she treasures the memory of her dad. She's also at odds with one of her two best friends, her jealousy exacerbated when her busy schedule throws the others together. Booth develops each conflict with well-chosen incidents, wisely focusing on Delaney. Despite some glamorous details, her job is hard work, with tough discipline and a demanding schedule that finally forces her to go, unwillingly, to a school for professional children. The many other characters, lightly sketched, make adequate foils for the beautifully realized Delaney: talented, resilient, a little spoiled and demanding, not always ready to face facts but, ultimately, a believable 11-year-old learning to work out her problems on her way to success. There are some overtidy resolutions here, but pungent scenes like the taping of an interview with a rock star who's a real ""jerk,"" or appealing touches like the banter about Delaney and her mom's being vegetarians, easily make up for them. A thoroughly likable story from a welcome new voice.

Pub Date: April 30th, 1992
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Scribners