WHAT IF THEY KNEW? by Patricia Hermes


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Jeremy, ten, has enjoyed the summer at her grandparents' house, but is distraught to learn that her parents' business trip to Europe will extend to Christmas. Jeremy has epilepsy; her seizures always seem to begin with the school year; and she's afraid that when the truth comes out she'll be an outcast and lose her new neighborhood friends, twins Mimi and Libby. But things at school proceed pretty much as before, with the three girls, fired by daredevil Mimi, always on the move, and pesty, tattle-tale Carrie trying to get everyone in trouble. When Jeremy does inevitably have a seizure, the twins stand by her, and though prissy, officious Carrie behaves true to form, Jeremy has second thoughts about the class' successful plot to get back at her. All this occurs in the context of a parents' night at school, where Carrie backs out of her speech on friendship, and Jeremy fills in with a short one that expresses her expanded understanding of the term. The jacket flap tells us that the author herself was epileptic, and evidently that isn't all she remembers about being ten. Her feel for fifth-grade likes and spites and buzzing conspiracies gives this small story a recognizable vitality that is absent from most such problem stories.

Pub Date: March 28th, 1980
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich