First-time author Cassidy introduces Dizzy on her 12th birthday, when her mother, a New Age gypsy who calls herself Storm, reappears after an eight-year absence. Convinced that her father has given his permission, Dizzy takes off with Storm to tour some outdoor festivals and get to know her mom better. But while Dizzy gets glimpses of what makes her mother special, Storm mostly ignores her. And although the girl makes some friends, bonding with Finn and troubled Mouse, she hates the way the townspeople judge them for being "crusty kids." Mostly, she misses her dad and starts thinking he's having fun without her (Storm had told her they were going to meet up with him at a festival, so Dizzy is confused when he doesn't show up). Readers will get a clear picture of Dizzy's life on the road; she sleeps in a tepee and dances at an all-night party next to a giant bonfire (to make money, Storm reads tarot cards and her boyfriend does crystal healings). Some of the narration seems too mature for a 12-year-old ("For the first time since I came here, I begin to understand. He's like me, Mouse. He never had a family, not a proper one"), but it's easy to empathize with the heroine's complicated emotions (and with those of Mouse, who's more alone than she). Overall, readers will appreciate this unique world that Dizzy has discovered, even as they hope she finds her way back. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Dizzy lives alone with her father, Pete, and has not seen her hippie mother since she left home when Dizzy was four years old. She misses her mother, Storm, deeply, and is thrilled when she pays a surprise visit on Dizzy's twelfth birthday, announcing that she wants to take Dizzy out of school for a vacation of camping and festival hopping. When Pete refuses to grant his permission, Storm hustles a sleepy, hesitant Dizzy out of the house at dawn, telling the girl that her father has changed his mind. For the next seven weeks, Dizzy is immersed in her mother's world of New Age "travelers," who live on the edge of the law, scavenging for necessities and assuming few responsibilities. Dizzy, confused and homesick, soon realizes that Storm is not the storybook mother she has fantasized about for eight years. Although she builds several close relationships, including a romantic one, she misses her father and their safe, predictable life at home. When a frantic Pete finally finds Dizzy and informs her of Storm's deception, the girl is devastated. She has matured enough, however, to let go of her unrealistic image of her mother and to love Storm despite her flaws. Cassidy creates a magical, poignant, and intriguing view of life outside the mainstream. Her colorful characters, tightly woven plot, and delightful imagery make an exceptionally enjoyable adventure story for girls. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M J (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2004, Viking, 256p., Ages 11 to 15.
Once-a-year birthday surprises are all the communication that Dizzy has had from her mother, Storm, since the age of four. For eight years she has only known her mother through a series of exotic postcards or cherished gifts. This year, as Dizzy turns twelve, things are different. There is not another postcard in her mailbox on her birthday. No, there is a mother in her house! Storm has arrived, and she has brought a bit of chaos as well as a chance for Dizzy to finally get to know her mysterious, wandering, hippie mother. When Storm suggests that her daughter come along to the festivals for a few weeks, it sounds like a good idea to Dizzy. Soon the pair are bumping over rural roads in a rusty, painted van and hooking up with an assortment of characters at out-of-the-way campsites. Dizzy is reconnecting with folks who remember her from her early childhood, like the caregiver Tess and teen boy Finn. She is also meeting some new folks, including her mother's volatile boyfriend Zak and his young son, Mouse. Through it all, she is learning a bit about family, some about love, much about her mother, and, most of all, a lot about herself. Cathy Cassidy's first teen novel is a compelling look at family dynamics and one girl's struggle to figure out where she fits into the scheme of things. Cassidy has a keen sense of teen feelings, and Dizzy's narrative voice rings true. 2004, Viking, Ages 10 to 14.
Heidi Hauser Green
Gr 5-8-When 12-year-old Dizzy is kidnapped by her hippie mother, whom she hasn't seen or heard from in eight years, she thinks that flighty Storm has her father's approval to take her to a solstice festival in Scotland where he will join them. As the weeks go by, Dizzy increasingly dislikes sleeping in a teepee, eating moldy bread, going without hot water, singing for handouts in town, and narrowly escaping arrest. Storm shoves her off on her friend Tess, and Dizzy realizes that Storm isn't the mother she had been wishing for. Dizzy and Tess's son bond and look after the neglected son of Storm's boyfriend. Readers will empathize with the protagonist as she fears that her father has abandoned her, and it takes a serious accident to right things. The eclectic characters and their lifestyle are presented as captivating yet questionable in the girl's first-person narrative, and the well-developed plot fosters concern for Dizzy from the beginning. A unique, satisfying story.-Jean Gaffney, Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library, Miamisburg, OH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Dizzy hears from her mother only once a year-on her birthday. On her 12th birthday, Storm suddenly appears and whisks Dizzy away to live the life of a New Age hippie. Several aspects of this new life are disturbing, but teenaged Finn becomes her friend, mentor, and partner as they care for Mouse, the troubled young son of Storm's boyfriend. Assured that her father has given permission for the summer experience, Dizzy nonetheless is concerned when he does not answer the postcards she has entrusted to her mother to mail. Then Storm takes off for India, leaving Dizzy and Mouse in the care of Finn's mother. Dizzy longs for a loving relationship with her mother, but she slowly realizes that Storm is a manipulator who can only be a shadowy figure in her life. Although Cassidy's melodramatic plot twists are over-the-top, she succeeds in making her characters believable and sympathetic. Not the stuff of which classics are made, but a good read nonetheless. (Fiction. 10-12)