Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Girlhearts, by Norma Fox Mazer

After Sarabeth's father died, her Mom promised her that nothing could ever happen to the family again, but Sarabeth knows that that is just a story you tell a small child. So, why does Sarabeth feel so much anger when her mother dies too, leaving her all alone, shuttled between Mom's old friends (not really wanted anywhere she goes). Now an orphan, Sarabeth doesn't know where she fits in.

Yes, it is one of those "books where the mother dies" (as Sonya Sones puts it) and while this is a promising premise for a dramatic sobfest, we get a fairly dull story instead. The narrative meanders between adults with issues and teen friends who sit on the periphery. When help comes, it's in the last quarter and pretty much an afterthought to provide a happy ending that ties everything up a bit too well.

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