"BRIGHT DAYS, STUPID NIGHTS" by Norma Fox & Harry Mazer Mazer


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Two prolific, reliable YA authors set a knotty contemporary issue--privacy vs. the fight to know--in an accessible story about four teens, summer interns on a small-town paper. Vicki, who has lied about her age to win one of the coveted spots, is 14; Faith is a highschool graduate, while Elizabeth and Chris, who defied his dad to come, will be seniors. The four establish a workable camaraderie despite their diversity--and the triangle resulting from Vicki's crush on Chris and Chris's on Elizabeth; the plot centers on Vicki's discovery that Faith comes from a well-known, and notorious, family (show business, public office, addiction, and acrimonious divorce). Claiming good intentions, Vicki writes an article about Faith that the others implore her not to show to their editor. Their fury at her intransigence leads to a blowup that almost destroys their summer; but when everyone--even Vicki--realizes they've gone too far, they manage to patch things up and remain friends. The characters here are so schematic that their struggle lacks depth; Vicki, in particular, is simply immature, which doesn't allow much chance to explore the moral issues. There are few convincing clues to the vaunted talent of the young people, and Faith's family (minor star, past lieutenant governor) doesn't seem important enough to cause the furor that it does. Still, though a disappointment coming from these fine authors, the details of working in journalism are interesting. Better-than-average light fare.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1992
Page count: 194pp
Publisher: Bantam