WHAT EVERY GIRL (EXCEPT ME) KNOWS by Nora Raleigh Baskin

WHAT EVERY GIRL (EXCEPT ME) KNOWS

Age Range: 9 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this unusual, deeply felt story about a motherless girl, 12-year-old Gabby lives with her painter father and older brother, Ian. She longs not only for a mother to instruct her in the womanly arts, but also for a best friend to share things with. Her wishes are suddenly answered when Cleo, her favorite of all the women her father has dated, becomes engaged to her dad and a wonderful new girl joins her school class. Gabby is relieved and happy that she has finally found females she can connect with, until the unexpected happens. Her father and Cleo break up, and in a heart-wrenching gasp-out-loud moment, Cleo shatters Gabby's hopes for a fairytale family with a real mother at the helm. But Cleo's temporary presence has awoken Gabby's long-dormant curiosity about her own mother. She's particularly interested in probing into her mother's mysterious death, a taboo topic in her household and something she has always felt guilty about. Determined to find out the truth, she talks her older brother into accompanying her on a pilgrimage to New York, hoping a visit to their old home will jog their collective memories. There she learns some hard, though guilt-relieving truths, finally becoming able to have "embraced her [mother's] existence" and say "good-bye." Although slow in spots, Baskin's first person narrative is smoothly engaging overall, and the dialogue rings true. The sympathetic protagonist has reality and dimension, and readers should be squarely in her corner as she goes through the difficult process of becoming a young woman. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-316-07021-1
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2001




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