THE DANI TRAP by Elizabeth Levy


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I was not drunk. But Michael was,"" So begins this lively yet uneasy blend of romance, mystery, and Message (teen drinking)--as 16-year-old Dani Nelli goes for a drive with brand-new potential boyfriend Michael, ""the most attractive guy I had ever met. . . the only one who made me feel like a woman."" Despite Michael's condition, Dani does get home safely. But a road-mishap along the way brings Dani into contact with John Nelson, ""the cutest police officer I had ever seen."" Soon Officer Nelson is asking non-drinker Dani (who looks even younger than 16) to become an undercover agent, part of the new police crackdown on liquor stores that sell to kids: all she has to do is buy booze at stores around town, backed up by an undercover cop. And, despite objections from Dani's father (a legal-aid lawyer concerned about the ""entrapment"" issue), she eagerly agrees--partly for noble reasons, partly not: ""I wanted to show Michael, like paying him back for not asking me out. And I did it because Officer Nelson is cute."" Unfortunately, however, after a few successful buying expeditions, Dani finds herself in unexpected, deep trouble--when there's a liquor-store holdup, with Dani framed for the crime! Both of her new cop-friends--Officer Nelson, Officer Jessica Martin--seem to turn on Dani; her father seems foolishly confident that his legal expertise will clear her name. So, with help from Michael (who's now on the wagon) and two other stalwart friends, Dani does a little sleuthing on her own--setting a trap to expose the corrupt cop who set her up. The serious teen-drinking problem gets a totally superficial treatment here; the mystery-plot has less texture than a routine TV cops-and-robbers episode. But, designed for quick and easy reading, this is a relatively harmless blend of instant recognitions (Dani's punk haircut, her pizza-parlor part-time job), pop-up melodrama, and basic niceness.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1984
Publisher: Morrow