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An established author of adult fantasy, who has also written realistic stories and a well received fantasy for young people (Red Wizard, 1990), tells a tale inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Harper and her father move in with an artist, Gus, who is soon to be her stepmother. Gus has a strange affinity to the spirit world; she creates art from a collection of junk that fills and surrounds her huge old house, where a powerful force frightens Harper and prevents her from going into the yard. Meanwhile, Harper becomes acquainted with Rawnie, who shares her love for ""The Friendship Song"" and the rock group ""Neon Shadow."" Rawnie helps Harper survive at her new school; she also joins Harper in trying to locate the weird music emanating from Gus's backyard. Though skinheads interrupt their budding interracial friendship, they become reconciled in time to attend a concert where Neon Shadow star Nico collapses. Crossing into the spirit world at Gus's prompting, Harper and Rawnie find Nico with a ghostly band of great rock stars and try to persuade him to live. Back in the real world once more, they learn that Nico really is recovering. Though this complex, well-written story may have trouble finding its level--sixth-grader Harper is younger than most potential readers--the blend of realism with the supernatural and is well handled, and of course the rock-star element has appeal.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1992
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Atheneum