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by Zu Vincent

Pub Date: April 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-932425-70-3
Publisher: Front Street/Boyds Mills

This complex and deeply sad novel set during the Cold War will have trouble finding an audience. Told in the first person by Cassie, it begins when she is only three, and her charming, alcoholic father accidentally leaves her behind at the races. Soon her mother leaves him and takes Cassie and her brother Jamie to a new home with a new dad, Ellis. Jamie, high-strung and deeply into dance, cannot bring himself to love “New Daddy,” while Cassie internalizes all her fears into worry and sleepwalking. There’s plenty for her to worry about: In addition to her “Old Daddy,” her mother and aunt develop drinking problems, Ellis gets cancer and general anxiety about jobs and money swirl about. Cassie ages from three to 12 over the three sections of the novel, resulting in a less-than-believable voice in the earlier parts. The writing is clear and elegant, but the young adults who might be intrigued by its tangled darkness will probably be put off by Cassie’s precocious narration. (Fiction. YA)