RELATIVE STRANGERS by Jean Ferris

RELATIVE STRANGERS

Age Range: 12 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 It sounds like a dream vacation: after graduation, her father takes Berkeley for two first-class weeks in London and Paris; she even gets to see brand-new boyfriend Spike in both cities. But in the hands of the notably perceptive Ferris (Across the Grain, 1990), the posh surroundings serve to bring Berkeley's troubled relations with her father into focus. Though handsome and charming, ``Ace'' abandoned her mother soon after Berkeley's birth and has barely kept in touch; he's still self-centered, oblivious to others' feelings, and convinced that love is bought. Only at the airport does Berkeley learn that his new wife, Paula, and her daughter, Shelby, 14, whom she's never met, are joining them. But though past slights make building a connection difficult, Berkeley--thoughtful, intelligent, with plenty of warm, healthy bonds (including an affectionate, friendly one with her mother)--sets out to do her best when Ace finally reaches out. She's justly furious when he fails to relay a message from Spike, but in the end her anger elicits an apology (if, realistically, no real understanding). Meanwhile, she's reached friendly accommodation with Paula (who's nice, though she lives to shop) and Shelby, whose prickly facade masks a troubled vulnerability dating back to her own father's death. With fully dimensional characters and irresistibly lively, telling dialogue: an unusually likable and thought-provoking novel. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Aug. 18th, 1993
ISBN: 0-374-36243-2
Page count: 230pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1993




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