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ITCH by Michelle D. Kwasney

ITCH

by Michelle D. Kwasney

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: May 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8050-8083-4
Publisher: Henry Holt

“Itch” is what Delores’s Gramps call her. After he dies, and she and Grams move from their house in Florida to a trailer park in Ohio, Delores decides to look for a new identity. She makes friends with baton-twirling Gwendolyn and, through her, a stylish clique at school. She also befriends Billy, who shares her love of fishing and appreciates her fascination with words. Even with these new friends, she worries about losing her best friend back in Florida, jealously scanning her letters for hints of betrayal. Set in 1968, this novel of friendship is peppered fairly obviously with period details, and more skillfully with issues of classism and domestic violence. The almost entirely character-driven plot gets a finishing touch from a thin narrative arc involving Gramps’s old Bel Air. Kwasney’s characters are prone to corniness and hyper-astute self-awareness, but they still manage to be fully fleshed and memorable. The melodramatic touches will most likely appeal to readers looking for another making-friends-at-a-new-school book. (Fiction. 10-14)