OUT OF STEP by Mary Jane Auch


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Jeremy, 12, makes himself and his stepfamily miserable until he realizes that other people have feelings too. He enjoys walking in the woods, helping a friend collect bugs, and playing with little brother Timmy, but now new superjock stepsister Allison is making it all seem babyish. Worse, his father shares her mania for athletics and has no time for Jeremy and his interests. Though Auch does little here to delineate characters, she does make Jeremy particularly unlikable--between attacks of self-pity, he responds cuttingly to overtures from Allison and his stepmother and reduces Timmy to tears by forcing him to look at pictures of their dead mother. After some unsurprising turns of plot (Jeremy plays a prank on Allison, overeats before a soccer game with the expected result, and suggests to his writing club a play about a prince whose recently remarried father ignores him), there's a cathartic confrontation and heart-to-heart between Jeremy and his suddenly sensitive father--after which Jeremy privately resolves to cut Allison and Kay some slack. Jeremy may have some value as a negative role-model, but this heavy-handed story offers little insight into a common domestic situation.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1992
Page count: 124pp
Publisher: Holiday House