Age Range: 12 - 16
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 At not quite 14, Graham reaches a crisis with his overbearing father. Summering at Mariposa, where the horses Dad trains are often winners, Graham is increasingly aware that Dad insists on using him as a sounding board yet has no tolerance for his son's opinions. Meanwhile, best old friend Leslie persists in confiding the details of her romance with a ``sensitive, vulnerable'' guitarist and asking Graham's advice--oblivious to his own vigorous attraction to her. Responding to all this with a mixture of sweetness and clumsy early-adolescent rancor, Graham surfs (inexpertly) to forget his troubles; does his patient best for Leslie; stands up to his father with regard to a two-year-old whose owner is eager to race her (prematurely, Dad fears), and even follows the filly to her new trainer--then feels guilty about the frightening depth of his anger towards his father. Like the protagonist of The Boy in the Moon (1990), likable Graham gets some of his better qualities, including honest self- appraisal and scintillating wit, from his mother; Koertge's characters have an individuality from which their interaction springs with wonderful inevitability. A well-crafted, wholly believable picture of a boy in transition, with a satisfying resolution involving recognitions and adaptations from both father and son--hilariously counterpointed with the first appearance of that boyfriend of Leslie's, who (to Leslie's dismay) has been transformed from Scarlatti fan to rock freak. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-316-50103-4
Page count: 171pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1991


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