A FACE IN EVERY WINDOW by Han Nolan

A FACE IN EVERY WINDOW

Age Range: 12 - 15
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A teenager’s resistance to change drives this meaty tale from Nolan (Dancing On The Edge, 1997, etc.), about people who are reinventing themselves, or reaffirming who they are. The death of JP’s Grandma Mary not only sends his frail mother to the hospital and his mentally retarded father out into the yard to dig holes with a spoon, it also brings an end to the harmonious, neatly ordered household in which he grew up. Changes are rolling over him like ocean waves as he and his parents move to a big old farmhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania, along with a gay ex-druggie, a gaggle of budding young poets and musicians, and Bobbi, a teenager fleeing her father’s beatings. Alternating fits of outrage with awkward, sincere efforts to fit in, JP sees his mother take up with a too-friendly doctor and Bobbi with a man ominously like her father, tracks changes in other members of what becomes an extended family, falls in and out of love, and ultimately regains senses of place and self. Nolan makes JP engrossingly complex, prickly but good at heart, confused about his own strong feelings, given to endearingly trite observations (“While everyone around me seemed to have found themselves, I grew more and more lost”), steadfast in his love for his father, and just as steadfast in his love for his mother, although their connection is a stormy one. Most, not all, of the people here make good choices, and Nolan beautifully captures the shifts and textures of human relationships. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-15-201915-4
Page count: 264pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1999