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HOW TO BUILD A HOUSE by Dana Reinhardt


by Dana Reinhardt

Age Range: 13 & up

Pub Date: May 27th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-375-84453-9
Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Sixteen-year-old Harper lost her mother when she was two years old. Her father subsequently married Jane, a lawyer with two daughters, Rose and Tess, who became Harper’s best friends. But because of her father’s infidelity, Jane has left, and Harper’s ideal home has been torn apart. The novel begins with Harper aboard a flight from her home in California to Bailey, Tenn., where she has joined a volunteer project to rebuild a house destroyed by a tornado. Scenes from the past alternate with Harper’s present-tense account of her summer to provide background for her emotional travails. There: stepsister Tess seethes at her stepfather’s betrayal; here: construction partner Teddy becomes increasingly attractive as more than a building buddy. The author juxtaposes the metaphorical (Harper learns to rebuild her own “house”) with the concrete in a well-paced first-person narrative spiced with summer flings and teen romance. Readers will find Harper absolutely charming, even at her most sardonic moments. (Fiction. 13 & up)