THAMES DOESN'T RHYME WITH JAMES

Teenage Kendra Kaye and her family fly to London for Christmas, where they'll see dreamboat Frank Lee, her family's summer house guest in New York in Remember Me to Harold Square (1987). As in the previous book, the kids are sent off on elaborate scavenger hunts, designed by their parents to help them explore the city. Presumably the hunt is also meant to keep the young lovers from getting involved, since Kendra's ten-year-old brother, O.K., is required to tag along (as well as two young English kids, Colin and Emma, the children of Kendra's aunt's fiance). This cumbersome plot device gets scuttled towards the end, when the kids rebel and refuse to collect any more trivia; Kendra's overprotective parents finally grant her some freedom, acknowledging her maturity. While veteran author Danziger zeroes in on certain abiding adolescent worries, this book doesn't address deeper issues, and her zippy, one-liners start to grate on the nerves. Kendra and Frank yearn to be together and steal a lot of kisses, but their relationship doesn't go anywhere; at one point, Kendra is put off by Frank's oafish behavior, but this promising conflict gets dropped. The YA equivalent of popcorn: After an hour, you'll forget you ever read it. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1994

ISBN: 0698117883

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1994

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THE LOUD SILENCE OF FRANCINE GREEN

It’s 1949, and 13-year-old Francine Green lives in “the land of ‘Sit down, Francine’ and ‘Be quiet, Francine’ ” at All Saints School for Girls in Los Angeles. When she meets Sophie Bowman and her father, she’s encouraged to think about issues in the news: the atomic bomb, peace, communism and blacklisting. This is not a story about the McCarthy era so much as one about how one girl—who has been trained to be quiet and obedient by her school, family, church and culture—learns to speak up for herself. Cushman offers a fine sense of the times with such cultural references as President Truman, Hopalong Cassidy, Montgomery Clift, Lucky Strike, “duck and cover” and the Iron Curtain. The dialogue is sharp, carrying a good part of this story of friends and foes, guilt and courage—a story that ought to send readers off to find out more about McCarthy, his witch-hunt and the First Amendment. Though not a happily-ever-after tale, it dramatizes how one person can stand up to unfairness, be it in front of Senate hearings or in the classroom. (author’s note) (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2006

ISBN: 0-618-50455-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2006

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BURIED ONIONS

Eddie, a young Mexican-American scraping by in the mean streets of Fresno, California, counts four dead relatives and one dead friend in the opening, in-your-face lines of this new novel from Soto (Snapshots from the Wedding, p. 228, etc.). In bleak sentences of whispered beauty, Eddie tells how he dropped out of vocational college and is attempting to get by with odd jobs. His aunt and friends want him to avenge the recent murder of his cousin, but Eddie just wants to find a way out. Everything he tries turns soura stint doing yard work ends when his boss's truck is stolen on Eddie's watchand life is a daily battle for survival. This unrelenting portrait is unsparing in squalid details: The glue sniffers, gangs, bums, casual knifings, filth, and stench are in the forefront of a life without much hope``Laundry wept from the lines, the faded flags of poor, ignorant, unemployable people.'' Soto plays the tale straightthe only sign of a ``happy'' ending is in Eddie's joining the Navy. The result is a sort of Fresno Salaam Bombay without the pockets of humanity that gave the original its charm. A valuable tale, it's one that makes no concessions. (glossary) (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-15-201333-4

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1997

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