UPSIDE DOWN by Mary Jane Miller


Age Range: 8 - 12
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 Sara Kovar, her older brother Jon, and their mother have managed to put her father's death last year behind them, though they all experience lingering sadness. Sara's problems in sixth grade are more child-size--being separated from her best friend in class and having to endure awful Adam Quigley. Then Mrs. Kovar and Adam's father, old school friends, get reacquainted and start dating. Sara and Adam's older sister Laurel, who harbors hopes that her divorced parents will reunite, awkwardly combine forces to stop the budding romance, but to little effect. What readers may like best about Sara is the way she acknowledges that others may be manipulating her, but finds herself going along anyway. The incidents in which she gets involved are minor (she can't go through with a plan to let the air out her mother's tires, yet confesses to planning it), but her attempts to do what's right are achingly well realized. Relationships here are finely drawn: the difference between Adam- at-school and Adam-at-home is a sharp piece of irony, funny and subtle; Jon's role as older brother is authentically bossy and surprisingly sweet. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-670-83648-6
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1992