Gr 8 Up-- High school senior Alessandra, now recovered from her disastrous infatuation of the previous year ( Alessandra in Love Harper Collins, 1989), is attracted to talented and popular junior, Terrence, but her friend Melissa convinces her to date Barry instead. Alessan dra finds Barry endearing but boring, and chases after the fickle Terrence; Barry is hurt and angered when, in a crisis, he reaches out to Alessandra and is rebuffed, only to find Ter rence with her later that day. Alessandra de cides that she needs to know where she stands with Terrence before she's hurt as well. While this is a better than average teenage romance, there are minor irritations. The first few chap ters are sprinkled with au courant , too-cute bits of dialogue, only some of which are funny. Also, Terrence sometimes sounds closer to age 30. Still, this is a sequel that stands on its own, with a convincing plot and honest ending. --Jo- Anne Weinberg, Greenburgh Pub . Lib . , NY
The last time we saw our heroine, she was "Alessandra in Love" , though with the wrong guy. Headed that way again, Alessandra boldly states her feelings to sensitive, socially aware Terrence, who's not even sure he's ready to hold hands. Meanwhile, Alessandra is also concerned about her grandfather's deteriorating health and about her friendship with Barry, a boy whose feelings for Allesandra are unrequited. Can dialogue be too witty and arch? There is some divine repartee here: "But what does he "yearn" for, Melissa?" "He "yearns", for a B in English." There's no doubt that it catches the ear beautifully. Yet at times, Kaplow sacrifices story for talk, relying on cleverness and giving us a main character who seems to do nothing but speak. Though Alessandra frequently tells us that her wit covers her shyness and insecurities, she is actually bold, telling Terrence right off the bat she's available girlfriend material. Since Alessandra is the book's heart, how we judge it comes down to how we feel about her, and in the end, there is an attractiveness that can't be denied. But, more than her sophisticated chat, it is often the simple things she "does" that are endearing: shaving her grandfather or persuading the staff of the literary magazine to consider a poem by goofy Tom Dorn even if the subject is Bugs Bunny and the title "Kill the Wabbit."