Age Range: 11 & up
Email this review


 The author of Sex Education (1988) returns with another fine novel about teenagers dealing with a tragedy not of their making. Cab (born in a taxi) and her older brother Bill are thrust into a summer in Pittsburgh while their newly married mother tours Europe with her concert-pianist husband. Bill is in college; Cab will help Grandmother run the neighborhood cafe in Washco, where Mom grew up. Washco is dauntingly changed, an urban area marred by graffiti and boarded windows; still, it's a caring community where Cab soon knows the regulars at the cafe, makes a close friend her own age, and joins a multigenerational writing group at the library. Meanwhile, Bill falls in love--innocently, deeply--with lovely Jessica, a classmate. But Washco isn't safe: an elderly neighbor is injured in a robbery; then, going home from her night job, Jessica is brutally raped. Strongest here are the warmly developed, wholly believable characters and Davis's wise choice of Cab as narrator, which keeps the details of Jessica and Bill's ordeal offstage but still allows Davis to evoke their almost unbearable pain--especially since Bill and Cab have an unusually close, empathetic relationship. Since the rapist is not described and remains unknown, the focus is not on vengeance but on the difficult task of personal healing--rendered with sensitivity and skill--and on the community's constructive efforts at future prevention and political action--inspiring but somewhat less likely. A gripping, beautifully written novel. (Fiction. 11+)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-531-05960-X
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Orchard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1991