RAZZLE by Ellen Wittlinger


Age Range: 14 & up
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Another engaging novel about teens as works in progress, from Wittlinger (Hard Love, 1999, etc.). The story is told from the point of view of Kenyon Baker, third and last child of two middle-aged schoolteachers. According to Ken, he was an unplanned, unexpected addition to the family, and has been mostly forgotten by his parents. They purchase a cottage camp on Cape Cod, planning to use it as the focus for a new life in retirement. From the start of this venture, things go wrong. Kenyon’s dad injures his back badly and is hors de combat as far as renovating the cottages is concerned. Kenyon makes friends in the town—friends that his mother vehemently disapproves of. On a trip to the garbage dump with his mother, he meets Razzle—eccentric, direct, socially underdeveloped, emotionally vulnerable, and, very, very likable. Razzle introduces Kenyon to two local teens, Primo and Harley, after which Kenyon’s summer becomes one of self-discovery and experimentation, artistically and emotionally. While totally engrossing, there are a couple of minor flaws to consider. The uneven characterization is dependent on descriptive shortcuts. The story climaxes in a melodramatic scene that dissolves or alters drastically all Ken’s relationships. It also ends too glibly, with Kenyon describing the different way he treats his parents, but not explaining how he changed the relationship. Teens, however, will not care about these flaws since they will find this compulsively readable. In many ways, Razzle dazzles. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-83565-5
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2001


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