CHICAGO BLUES by Julie Reece Deaver


Age Range: 11 - 14
Email this review


``I have just kidnapped my eleven-year-old sister, although she doesn't know it yet.'' Thus begins a fine YA novel about Melissa Hastings``rock-solid responsible daughter, temporary parent''and her young charge, Marnie. Lissa is in her first semester of art school in Chicago when her alcoholic mother calls to say she can't control her drinking, or Marnie. Marnie moves in with Lissa in her tiny apartment, and the two try to redefine their roles. Deaver (You Bet Your Life, 1993, etc.) creates a compelling character in Lissa, 17, who struggles to balance school, ``parenthood,'' and her own artistic goals. She's not always sure what to do and she makes some mistakes, but in her efforts, emerges as a strong young woman with a lot of heart. The author aptly portrays the ups and downs of an ongoing relationship: Sometimes Marnie is angry at Lissa, sometimes she clings to her, and sometimes the two achieve a lighthearted camaraderie. The voices are authentic; the characters deal with powerful emotions that are never overstated, and are balanced with a healthy dose of humor. A tightly written novel about give and take, and knowing when to let go. (Fiction. 11-14)*justify no*

Pub Date: June 30th, 1995
ISBN: 0-06-024675-8
Page count: 172pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1995