THE YEAR MY PARENTS RUINED MY LIFE by Martha Freeman

THE YEAR MY PARENTS RUINED MY LIFE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An eye-catching title guarantees that readers will gravitate to this novel, which takes on the time-honored topic of moving--this time, from sunny California to dismal, snowy Belletoona, just outside Pittsburgh. Kate, 12, believes that her parents have mined her life because of the move; until then, she's had a perfect life with her surfer boyfriend, Josh, and her best friend, Molly. Kate's family experiences disaster after disaster: Her mother's thin, California body begins to take on the ""chubbette"" style of ""all the women back there""; they are being frivolously sued by the racist school principal over a car crash; and Kate's classmates are under the impression that she's related to Tom Cruise (the mix-up and its predictable outcome are both obvious to readers). In most ways, Kate's dilemma is too familiar, while the travails of the adult characters (her mother's long, mysterious phone calls, her father's faulty product line) hint at a more complicated, fresher plot than is ever realized. The story becomes exciting when, after trouble in school, Kate runs away to California, only to find Molly and Josh are more interested in each other than in her. Moments of offbeat humor carry the plot over its bumps, but they don't make Kate's problems feel more than mildly irritating.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1997
Page count: 184pp
Publisher: Holiday House