Praise for Best Foot Forward...
"This funny, winsome book is full of Bauer's trademark folksy wisdom..."Jennifer Hubert, Booklist
Praise for Backwater by Joan Bauer
"Bauer's characters crackle with eccentricity and exhibit glimmers of intense emotion."Publishers Weekly
Praise for Almost Home by Joan Bauer
"Sugar's voice is convincing, both as storyteller and young writer; her natural good humor shines through what could be a sad story indeed. Quirky supporting characters—both human and dog—add to its appeal. Sugar...will win readers hearts." —Kirkus, starred review
"Sure to inspire..." —Library Media Connection, starred revie
Shoe-crazy Jenna from Rules of the Road lands her dream job at Gladstone Shoes, but trouble arises. "Vivid characterizations, crisp, believable dialogue and some exciting scenarios make for an entertaining ride," PW said. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
This sequel to Bauer's Rules of the Road will send those who have not yet met heroine Jenna Boller scurrying to read the first volume. In the first book, Jenna discovered her passion and gift for selling shoes. Now she understands her capability as a manager, marketer, and someone who can strategize to fight for those who are suffering from the ill effects of corporate bad decisions. Jenna has a front row seat for viewing the ugliness of greed and power when the tough, sure, smart owner Mrs. Gladstone finds the empire she has built threatened by betrayals by her less-than-honorable son. At the same time Jenna fights battles on this front, she has a growing understanding about her feelings regarding her dysfunctional father. She learns partly by helping Tanner Cobb, a new employee with a strong family and a police record. Jenna also meets a very healthy love interest who understands the difficulties of doing the right thing in business. Bauer is eloquent in bringing this vivid character to life with a blend of humorous and thoughtful writing. 2005, Putnam, Ages 11 to 15.
Jenna, spunky heroine of Bauer's award-winning Rules of the Road, makes a welcome reappearance in this sequel. Back in Chicago after a road trip driving her tough-minded though tender-hearted boss, Mrs. Gladstone, down to Texas to help save her shoe company from a takeover by her sleazy son, Elden, in the previous title, 16-year-old Jenna is now happily working at Gladstone Shoes while juggling responsibilities at school and at home. She's still wrestling with her father's alcoholism (she called the police on him for driving drunk) and she attends Al-Alon for support. Meanwhile, a new challenge comes into her life: Tanner, a "dangerously cute" teenager whom she encounters when he tries to steal from the shoe store. Instead of prosecuting him, Mrs. Gladstone hires himand assigns Jenna to be his mentor. Interestingly, this doesn't become a romantic relationship (Jenna meanwhile meets the perfect guy: "'He understands retail,' I said dreamily"), but both of them learn and grow from their work experience, especially when Mrs. Gladstone's son tries to turn the business into a discount chain and is revealed to be using sweatshop labor in Thailand. A great cast of characters, witty dialog along with Jenna's droll asides, and an insight into business ethics highlight this winning title, which is sure to win more accolades for the talented Bauer. KLIATT Codes: JS*Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, Penguin, Putnam, 192p., Ages 12 to 18.
With Best Foot Forward, Joan Bauer continues the adventures of Jenna Boller. Having concluded the adventures described in Rules of the Road, Jenna returns to Chicago and her job at Gladstone Shoes. Mrs. Gladstone returns, as well, struggling to assert the control over the corporation that was promised to her as Director of Quality Control at the conclusion of Rules of the Road. Mrs. Gladstone's greedy son Eldon continues to engage in shoddy business practices, and Mrs. Gladstone moves through the novel toward the inevitable confrontation that mirrors the plot of Rules of the Road. Added to the mix this time is Tanner Cobb, a good-hearted adolescent on parole for theft and determined to throw his life away. We also meet Charlie Duran, a young man who appeals to Jenna because "He understands retail." As always, Bauer's prose is delightful, and the potentially serious issues (Will Mrs. Gladstone save the soul of the corporation? Will Tanner be rehabilitated?) never threaten to break the essentially humorous spell of the novel. Readers who loved Rules of the Road will have to read Best Foot Forward. 2005, Putnam, 183 pp., Ages young adult.
F. Todd Goodson
Gr 7-10-Teens who followed Jenna's journey from Chicago to Texas and back again in Rules of the Road (Putnam, 1998) will be thrilled with this sequel. The 17-year-old still likes to be in control (surely she must be a Capricorn), but she's thrown for a loop when her elderly employer, Mrs. Gladstone, hires a young man caught stealing from the shoe store where she works and appoints Jenna as his supervisor. The teen is still dealing with many issues in her own life, including an alcoholic father and a beloved grandmother whose Alzheimer's disease is progressing. Just as it seems that her life is as complicated as she can handle, she discovers that Mrs. Gladstone's son has been secretly utilizing unethical overseas labor tactics to cut costs and downgrade the quality of the shoes. Bauer's strength in characterization is amply evident here. Teens will enjoy Jenna's emotional growth and root for her tentative romance with Charlie, the donut king. For continuity, however, it is necessary to read Rules of the Road first as Best Foot Forward does not stand as surefootedly on its own.-Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.