Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This accomplished first novel, set in the late '50s, brings uncommon depth to what at first glance seems a conventional plot-16-year-old Bron Lewis moves with her family from New Jersey to Ojala, Calif., and wants to fit in. Despite providing two radically different potential boyfriends for Bron, Hobbs is far more ambitious and skillful a writer than to focus on teen romance. For starters, the family is scarred by Mr. Lewis's suicide attempt two years ago, a trauma that haunts Bron and complicates her attitudes toward her parents, who run a diner as charming and unsuccessful as Anne Tyler's Homesick Restaurant. Bron, an unusually astute narrator, coolly dissects her feelings and her impressions. Admiring the pleasure-minded Ojala teens, she is mindful of their shallowness even as she, too, cruises down the strip and enters a few drag races. Lusting after J.C., a James Dean type, she can't understand her attraction to Will, the West Point-bound son of a family with more breeding than money. Hobbs's winding, sometimes slow-moving plot takes in serious issues-domestic violence, teen sex, alcoholism-and measures their effect on relationships. Her pacing may be off, but her insights are invariably canny. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
"This accomplished first novel set in the late 1950s brings uncommon depth to what at first glance seems a conventional plot-a 16-year-old who moves with her family from New Jersey to California and wants to fit in," said PW in a starred review. Ages 12-up. (Dec.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Gina Sides
Bron Lewis resents her parents for their decisions that mess up her life. They move from New Jersey to California to escape the scandal of Mr. Lewis' attempted suicide. Bron eventually gets "in" with the wild popular high school crowd because of a drag race in her fast '46 Ford, "Silver." Bron has two intimate relationships, one with a "real" person who wants to eventually marry her and one with a "cool" older guy. The story ends in a mystery; Bron is wondering if her sincere lover killed himself because she has spurned him or if he really accidently shot himself. The book has a few sexually explicit references. The plot is well developed and will keep the most experienced reader on edge. American Library Association YALSA Best for Young Adults. 1997 (orig.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 9 UpThis sensitive, complex coming-of-age novel immerses readers in the world of Ojala, CA circa 1960. At 16, Bron is angry. Having lost her adoration for her alcoholic father following his botched suicide attempt, she is disdainful of her mother's support of his dream to open his own restaurant. Also, Bron, a talented pianist, is afraid that she'll never fit in. But when she becomes friends with enigmatic Lanie, a beauty pageant-winning poor girl, she delves quickly into the popular lifestyle of drinking, hot rods, dating, and sliding by at school. Bron is smitten by J.C., a nearly mythical older guy who lets her race his Deuce at the local dragstrip in the women's heat. When Will, a well-bred, serious young man from a ranch family enters her life, they begin an innocent romance. After Will departs for West Point, she loses her virginity to J.C. and immediately regrets it. When Will is found dead (the circumstances are unclear), Bron realizes how much her actions matter. She matures emotionally and develops her musical talent (as revealed in the epilogue) with the help of Will's mother. Bron's is a believable and realistic voice. Her changing self-image and relationships are beautifully detailed, as are the interesting assortment of supporting (NOT minor) characters and the physical world they inhabit. The themes are subtly evoked and life's lessons are learned the hard way. A powerfully written and memorable debut.Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Jr. High School, Iowa City, IA