Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyDavid Smith's life is shattered when his father leaves the family to move to Alaska with a young woman. David, whose goal was to prove that jocks are smart by getting into a good college, stops going to school, quits the school basketball team and loses interest in college plans. He withdraws from life, as does his mother, and in helping her, David helps himself. He thinks again about college but realizes that he may have waited too long to apply. Using ``page four'' of his college application form, he describes the extenuating circumstances of his high school record. This device gives credence to David's self-analysis, but readers may wish they had been left to draw their own conclusions. The first-person narrative provides much humor, however, through David's sly asides. A moving coming-of-age story. (12-up)
School Library JournalGr 6-9 ``Thanks, Adriana,'' says this novel's young protagonist to a girl who's making a pass at him, ``but I'm not into socializing. My parents got divorced and I'm brutalized.'' And there, somewhat limply, lies the plot of this story. David Smith's father unexpectedly takes off to go to Alaska with a young woman from his office. Up to that point, big Dave had been everything a father should be: smart, sharp, and successful. After the walkout, David can think of nothing else. Fortunately, he has a super girlfriend, a super Mom, a super male friend, and there's a super-super local librarian who befriends both David and his mother and puts them back on their feet. The book is written as the ``page four'' of a college application, on which the applicant is asked to write candidly about himself. Klass' characters are overdrawn and exaggerated. David speaks and thinks in epigrams (``I am taking all the steps but I am not dancing''), and improbabilities abound (David's mother goes off to India for the summer, leaving him alone). David is simply too introspective and perceptive for his tender years. Worse, his account becomes wearying. You have to wonder how many college admissions officers would get through his page four. Robert Unsworth, Scarsdale Junior High School, N.Y.
- Random House Children's Books
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