Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyBeth, 14, hates leaving her posh Manhattan apartment to live with her divorced father, Pete, a Vermont sculptor as antimaterialistic as her wealthy mother, Clarissa, is a conspicuous consumer. Clarissa, pregnant and on her third marriage, has planned a trip abroad with her new husband, and the realization that she's become obsolete hurts Beth deeply. She also misses her one friend, a teenage Soviet Jewish emigr whose parents run a restaurant in Brooklyn. Meanwhile, dealing with self-righteous Pete requires a patience and fortitude Beth doesn't feel she has. Klass's (Rhino; The Bennington Stitch) character-driven novel covers a diverse terrain: an only child struggling with estranged parents and a blas stepfather; a new way of life; and an important first romance. Some story elements become repetitious (Pete's rigid, quasi-bohemian ways), artificially prolonging an essentially slim plot. Yet Beth's first-person narration contains insightful gems, and readers may also enjoy the relative sophistication of the structure, which alternates Beth's adventures in Vermont with flashbacks to episodes in New York. Ages 10-up. (Feb.)
The ALAN Review - Joanne PetersFor Beth Converse, Allenville, Vermont, is "Nowhere." But after a life of private schools, designer clothes, and Big Apple sophistication, that's where the fourteen-year old finds herself when her mother remarries, moves to Italy, and sends Beth to live with her father, a talented ceramist. Pete Converse has always walked to the beat of his own drummer - a beat that is simple and decidedly unmaterialistic. No wonder Beth's parents split up. It's a challenge for Beth to find the tempo that fits life in Allenville, but by the end of the book she's on her way. The dialogue is sharp and witty, but Klass is realistic about the pangs of adjusting to life in a new environment, about the tensions and conflicts between parents and children, and about losing your closest friend, just when you've found him.
Children's Literature - Mary Sue PreissnerBeth Converse struggles with growing up, a task compounded by her parents divorce and drastically different lifestyles and values. Having spent the past five years with her mother Clarissa (who occasionally drinks too much) and her mother's unlimited funds in New York, Beth finds herself exiled to Vermont to live with her father Pete (Pablo), the starving artist. With the help and support of a friend, Beth reconciles herself to her life.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 5-8-Beth's mother is going to Italy with her husband, and poor Beth, 14, is being packed up and limo-driven to Allenville, Vermont, to live with her artistic father. She is not a happy camper. Beth has had every material advantage during the five years she and her wealthy mother have lived in New York City, and she finally has made a friend, Josef, a 16-year-old Russian migr. Parts of the story are predictable, e.g., the father's gruff exterior hides a shining knight, the mother's fussy concern covers essential cowardice and selfishness. More puzzling is why Beth is so unfamiliar with Vermont if she lived there until she was nine and why she is so angry with her father. Yet there is a certain psychological reality that Beth dare not be angry with the parent who is backing away, and so her dad takes the brunt precisely because he will always be there for her. All of this is wrapped in the typical first-person narration of a child who might be a spoiled brat, but who is obviously bright, witty, and perceptive. There are some good points made in a nonpreachy way about money and sophistication not being the answer to everything. Lacking cohesion and a focus for this mostly interior monologue, however, the book may leave readers ultimately disappointed that Beth adjusts so easily to what is obviously the best place for her.-Carol A. Edwards, Minneapolis Public Library
Jeanne TrinerWhen her wealthy, socialite mother marries an interior designer and moves from New York to Rome, Beth is exiled to rural Vermont and the eccentric artist father whose way of life she has often heard her mother ridicule. Besides culture shock, Beth must deal with separation from her close confidant and from new romantic interest, Josef, a talented violinist whose Russian immigrant parents have decided to move the family to Israel. Beth's voice is refreshing, if a bit unrealistically sage for her years, and Josef is one of those truly delightful, beautifully drawn characters who make readers yearn for a sequel. The whole story is packed into only a few days, which certainly maintains the action but makes it difficult to find believable motivation for Beth's easy acceptance of her lot in life and also results in stereotypical secondary characters, including the pigheaded, aging-hippie father. Scenes set in New York City and Vermont are equally well drawn, giving a real sense of contrasting lifestyles. This is a light, humorous story with a sweet romantic subplot. Although Josef is strong enough that boys might enjoy it, too, it's really right on the mark for girls who are reluctant readers.
- Scholastic, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.84(w) x 8.61(h) x 0.98(d)
- Age Range:
- 12 - 14 Years
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