Steppie Emerson's plans for a perfect junior year in high school begin to go wrong when her mom inherits a pool table. Just as she'd hoped, Steppie gets a boyfriend, Roger Curtis. But how can Steppie impress him when Mrs. Emerson spends every day shooting pool? To further complicate matters, Steppie has to take time off from working on the yearbook to host to a church-sponsored group of teenage boyspractically juvenile delinquentswho shoot pool at the Emersons's. Steppie feels left out in the cold when Roger avoids her and her best friend Megan finds another confidante. The last straw is when Mrs. Emerson enters a billiards competition in Las Vegas. St. George (The Mount Rushmore Story, etc.) has created an engaging heroine. There's never a dull moment, as lively characters and realistic situations show how friendship comes in manysometimes unexpectedguises. (10-up)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-9 Although St. George's heart is in the right place, her writing here takes on a contrived rigidity as she attempts to help her heroine make meaningful decisions about her life. Steppie Emerson wants to have a perfect junior yearwith the best boyfriend, good extra-curricular activities, and top grades. However, when her mom inherits a pool table that also brings a group of not-so-great kids to her house, Steppie's life is immediately complicated. Roger, the boyfriend, fits nicely in the shallow-preppy stereotype. Mom is the nonconformist; Dad is the too-busy-but-caring father; Wayne is the juvenile delinquent-alcoholic with a good heart; Megan is the overweight best friend; Carolina is the most-beautiful-but-hiding-a-deep-secret friend; and Hobo is, of course, the lovable dog. Somehow with this cast of characters Steppie is supposed to discover that life does not always go according to plan. Unfortunately, the predictability of the book offsets the theme and leaves readers with a bland message. Judie Porter, Media Services Center, Portsmouth School Department, R.I.