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HEART AND SOUL by Liz Rosenberg


by Liz Rosenberg

Pub Date: May 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-15-200942-6
Publisher: Harcourt

The world of Willie Steinberg, 17, is colorless, peopled with wraiths like her mother, who spends her days in a vodka-and-tonic haze while waiting for Willie's father to return from the business trip that has so far lasted two years. Willie has lost her scholarship at a music school and no longer finds any joy in the music itself; even her beloved Beethoven and Mozart have failed her. The only person who refuses to accept her anomie is her former classmate Malachi Gelb, who offers readers a whole new meaning of the word eccentric. Another classmate from music school, also living in Richmond, invites both Willie and Malachi to her coming-out party, which proves to be a disaster for both of them. Their shared trauma, however, and the sad truths it evokes lead to an epiphany for them and give Willie a point of reentry into the business of living. From the author of several picture books, Rosenberg's first novel is not intended to keep readers on the edge of their seats, but its measured, dreamlike pace bears comparison to the malaise that is destroying Willie. As a study in depression, the book is sensitive and incisive, enhanced by a poetic writing style and skill in characterizing two teenagers at the very precipice of madness. (Fiction. 12+)