THE SARA SUMMER by Mary Downing Hahn



Emily Sherwood is twelve, tormented by her snide schoolmates for being tall, treated like an infant by her overbearing parents, and maybe a little too accommodating to her younger brother. Newcomer Sara Slater (from New York!) is twelve, an inch taller, and not put upon by anybody: she terrorizes her younger sister, in fact; tells her parents where to get off; and when the local kids start giving her the Emily-treatment, gives them back more than they bargained for--including the hurtful things she's overheard them say about one another. All this, however overdrawn, has grab: Hahn writes a sharp-edged, mean-spirited, dirty-mouthed, Seventies-suburban story that will be read to the end. . . if only, indeed, to see where natural-follower Emily will draw the line. And when she does--at Sara's attempt to imprison little sister "Hairball" in a foul, infested hut--it's not unequivocal; Sara never exactly repents, one could say she relents--and in disclosing to Emily her own vulnerability (especially her gratitude for Emily's loyalty-under-pressure), secures her friendship forever. But in avoiding the usual turnabout (which would have entailed exposing Sara as an unstable, somehow-victimized child), Hahn has failed to clarify just what does all her--or to explain why her parents, however preoccupied, never intercede. And the restrained resolution is not matched by the characterization of the supporting cast--horrors one and all.
Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1980
ISBN: 0380723549
Page count: 135pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1980


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