WHEN THE ROAD ENDS by Jean Thesman


Age Range: 10 - 14
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 The author of Rachel Chance (1990) spins another likable melodrama about children with a precarious hold on their only home. For narrator Mary Jack, Father Matt is better than most in a long series of foster parents, though the kind Episcopal priest has a shrewish wife (Jill), and Mary Jack is stuck with most of the housework--as well as with caring for ``Jane,'' an abandoned waif who never speaks and bears terrible scars from abuse. To this uneasy mÇnage come Adam, 14, a taciturn rebel whose mother abandoned him, and Father Matt's sister Cecile, newly widowed after an auto accident that has also disabled one arm and left her aphasic. It's too much for Jill: as a stopgap, the three kids and Cecile are sent, under the nominal care of mean, indolent Gerry, to a riverside summer home Cecile has inherited, for a few weeks that extend into the whole summer. Gerry absconds with the cash; fearing they'll be split up and sent somewhere worse, the others muddle valiantly along until they end, predictably, by forming a viable new family. Cecile's recovery is uneven, but she gradually assumes a motherly role; Mary Jack learns to demand help and accept her own vulnerability; Adam proves loyal and resourceful; Jane warms to affection and finally reveals her real name. Meanwhile, a thoroughly nice high-school classmate of Cecile's turns out to be a neighbor, and a nearby camper provides some suspenseful menace. An old-fashioned fantasy, really: contrived, but genial, well-told, and engrossing. (Fiction. 10- 14)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-395-59507-X
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1992


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