THE PISTACHIO PRESCRIPTION
Thirteen-year-old Cassie starts her first-person story with the assertion that "Pistachio nuts, the red ones, cure any problem," and she ends with "Twinkles, I bet, are the answer"--a fair enough indication of the level of growth that has transpired in between. And though Cassie does indeed have problems that neither pistachios nor twinkles can solve--chiefly, divorcing parents whose insensitivity brings on her frequent asthma attacks-her tone throughout is so glib and inauthentic that it's hard to believe in a real suffering child under all the predictably triggered hysterics. ("Sometimes I think my parents are wonderful, and sometimes I hate them" is a typical Danziger illustration of adolescent psychology.) Cassie does better outside the home, acquiring a kissing boyfriend, running for freshman class president and beating out the candidate from the elite in-group, and winning the right to wear sunglasses in class after she has disastrously plucked out her eyebrows. Not improbable, but shallow--a synthetic slice of "typical teenage" life.