The Genessee Queen is a Canadian ferry boat that carries twelve-year-old Monica Kroll, little sister Gabrielle, and their beautiful, vaguely Hungarian mother away from philandering Papa, a violinist, to a stultifying island life Of charming, picturesque, artsy-craftsy, genteel poverty. Luckily Monica wins a scholarship to a good school (""the blazer with the emblem on the pocket and the darling little beret!"") in mainland Victoria where she learns that brains and the arts beat cheerleading. At last Papa shows up on the island, not to rescue them--as Monica and Mama had hoped--but to give a concert and incidentally introduce a surrogate wife/daughter: his mousy young accompanist/fiancee. Passionate Mama shatters the next-to-last good plate; but practical Monica faces hard facts about egoist Papa, plans a new active life (back on the mainland) for her mother and sister, breaks off with her ""perfect young man"" Courtney (""not even a pimple anywhere""), and begins an autobiography entitled ""The End of Childhood."" The book's lesson about the fruitlessness of female passivity is timely. Unfortunately, it comes cluttered with things and appearances (Monica is always changing from one cute handcrafted outfit to another) and oozing treacly self-serving dialogue. Doggedly sunny.