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Miss Stolz has undertaken an exacting task in her new teen age novel- the tracing of the effect of a single personality on the lives of others. In this goal she has fallen somewhat short though her story is again reminiscent of her other books in the frankness and free expression and understanding of the teen ager. The plot revolves around Madeline Portman, a new girl who enters the fashionable Bramley School following the Christmas holidays, and who seems to Dot and the others in the class, cheap and loud and common, quite obviously from a poor family and a misfit at Bramley. Dot's brother, Brian, home from boarding school for the holidays, had met Madeline at a skating rink and rescued her from a youth who was annoying her. Brian in any case is unconventional, and despite Dot's protests continues to see a good deal of Madeline. Then- once school is underway again, Madeline becomes a focal point of disruption; the boys are crazy about her; the girls draw together in a solid phalanx; Dot, because of Brian, tries to be nice to her but rather half-heartedly. Madeline herself emerges as reserved, sensitive, proud, conscious of her poor background and gradually bringing Dot, and her crowd to the realization that it takes all kinds to make a world. But she remains a shadowy figure. Only occasionally does her effect on Dot and some of the more sensitive girls come through. ...There are many elements too often sidetracked in school stories- the snobbery, uncertain standards and difficulties of adjustment. But the whole book does not measure up to Miss Stolz's best.

Pub Date: April 17th, 1957
Publisher: Harper