HONOR BRIGHT by Randall Beth Platt


Age Range: 12 - 15
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 As WW II rages overseas, domestic battles keep a Washington family simmering in this vigorously told, unconventionally cast story. In the ten years since the fire that killed their father and baby sister, twins Theadora (Teddy) and Howie, 14, have been estranged from their Grandma Rose--but are now stationed with her for the summer while Dee Dee, their bubbleheaded, fashion-conscious mother, goes in search of a man. At once bitterly quarrelsome and deeply devoted to each other, the siblings have sworn a deep oath- -``Honor Bright''--not to talk about the accident, which Howie unknowingly started, and for which Teddy, to protect him, has always taken the blame. Platt builds the major characters and the plot on first impressions that intentionally mislead: Rose, despite a Dee Deelike first appearance, is really a crusty, loving sort; only gradually is the huge heart beneath Teddy's profane, defiant exterior revealed; and Dee Dee's new husband, met and married in a single month, is not at all as slow and stupid as he seems. In a rousing climax, Teddy and a new friend, Steve, race floodwaters to finish a dam; Teddy sees Rose and Dee Dee leave the scene arm in arm: ``It wasn't peace in Europe. It wasn't peace in the Pacific. But it was a start.'' Although sometimes disturbing and overdone, the frequent ugly spats, profanity, and heavy teen drinking are startling but effective ways of getting beneath each character's surface. A tour de force with a tough, unforgettable protagonist. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-385-32216-X
Page count: 229pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1997