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Though set in the late 1960s and festooned with period detail, this tale of an Oregon teenager struggling to free herself from the constraints of peer and parental expectations has a perfectly contemporary ring. A door opens in Kathy's mind when she realizes that what she feels after losing a bid to join the rally squad is relief. She next tries folk-singing art, and the theatre, joining the long-haired crowd and absorbing their political awareness and sense of freedom. Along comes James, as admirable for his willingness to let Kathy think and act for herself as he is for standing up to school authorities to protest random locker searches, or educating himself and others about Vietnam. He and Kathy make a wonderfully appealing couple, negotiating the emotional minefields of adolescence as they grow closer, avoiding the temptations of drugs and sex on their way to maturity. Crew (Fire on the Wind, 1995, etc.) pokes gentle fun at Kathy's clueless, loving parents as she plants seeds of personality in her young characters that will later blossom into perfect careers. Although Kathy and James are suddenly separated when his family moves away, the author reunites them in a coda that carries them, happily married, up to the present--she's a novelist, he's an ACLU lawyer. An amiable love story, lit by a likable cast and underlaid with reassuring, deftly inserted messages.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1997
Page count: 197pp
Publisher: Delacorte