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ZIPPED by Laura McNeal


by Laura McNeal & Tom McNeal

Age Range: 13 & up

Pub Date: March 11th, 2003
ISBN: 0-375-81491-4
Publisher: Knopf

Mick Nichols has women problems. His mother, who left his father and lives far away, can’t seem to remember his age. Lisa Doyle, the cute field hockey player, seems not to notice him, and Myra Vidal, college sophomore and former beauty queen, is paying him all kinds of attention. But far, far worse—his attractive stepmother, whom he adores, is carrying on a torrid affair. Every one of the women here has a problematic love life. Lisa, for example, likes Mick, but loves Elder Keesler, an older boy and a missionary in her church, Lisa’s friend Janice is going out with a muscle-bound slime ball. Mick acts as a sort of bell-weather for all of them as the plot unfolds. Eventually, everything falls into place: Lisa gets over her fixation on the missionary, Myra comes out to Mick, and Mick and his step-mother are reconciled as Mick learns that life can be very complicated and that even good people make big mistakes. The McNeals (Crooked, 1999) spin a wonderfully rich story. It is a little bothersome that only Mick and his father seem to lead straightforward lives unmarred by moral uncertainty, (apart from Mick’s impulsive act of vandalism meant to punish his stepmother’s paramour) while the various females in the story are tortured by a variety of conflicted feelings and bad choices. The authors steer clear of moralizing, however, and wrap everything up in a most satisfying way. (Fiction. 13+)