COUSINS by Virginia Hamilton
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Cammy is first seen paying one of her regular visits to a nursing home to see her grandmother, Gram Tut, undeterred by rules that say children must be accompanied by adults. But though Cammy is sensitive and loving with Gram Tut, she's no saint: she despises her cousin Patty Ann, who lives in a fancy house, is pampered by an obnoxious mother, and seems to be best at everything she does. On a day-camp trip, while Cammy is in the complex throes of jealousy involving not only Patty Ann but Elodie, a more distant cousin whose mother is a migrant worker, Patty Ann drowns while saving Elodie from a flooding stream. Cammy is torn by guilt and the mistaken conviction that Patty Ann's courageous death was a last taunt of superiority--exacerbated by Cammy's mother's bizarre expressions of grief. In a warm, typical Hamilton conclusion, Cammy's whole family rallies to comfort and bring her back to herself; even Gram Tut makes an extraordinary visit to their home. Unusual, skillfully drawn characters and relationships involve readers in the early part of this story, which picks up its pace as the girls' bickering and jockeying for precedence is suddenly transformed into the suspenseful, ironic tragedy and its aftermath. Another wise, beautifully written book from this well-established master.
Pub Date: Sept. 27th, 1991
ISBN: 0-399-22164-6
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2000


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