These seven quick stories introduce readers to Dolores, known as Do, the quirky iconoclast who hides her self-doubt behind her irreverent wit. She is cocky, fun, unconcerned with social norms, and although she is no stranger to fear, Do lives fearlessly. Over the course of the book, as Do grows from age seven to sixteen, readers also get to know her admirable older brother, Jimmy; her shy ninth-grade suitor; and her parents. The stories vary in quality; the first is terrific. It has everything a reader could want�love, danger, good friends, great music, and a totally cool yet completely nice hero, Jimmy. In the next three stories, however, Do at ages eight, eleven, and twelve is too precocious to believe. She speaks in long paragraphs about things such as power relationships, and there is no distinction between her voice at age eight and at twelve. By the time she is fourteen, Do gets interesting all over again. Readers will love the tale of her first kiss�and of William's, from whose point of view the story is told. When she is in tenth grade, Do, whose game always has been ice hockey, makes the cheerleading squad, to the chagrin of the other cookie-cutter cheerleaders at Central High who are more interested in how they look in their uniforms than in helping the team win. The last story features the same kind of breathless action seen in the first, neatly tying the collection together and leaving readers with ideas worth pondering. This book will find a natural place in libraries serving junior and senior high students. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades10 to 12). 2002, HarperCollins, 144p,
There's just something about Dolores that draws everyone to her. Her unique personality, great sense of humor, and strong sense of identity make her a very interesting character to read about. Dolores is kidnapped, her parents get divorced, the kids at school start rumors about her, and just about every guy who lays eyes on her is so enchanted by her beauty that they all miss the real Dolores underneath. Yet through all of these things, she only grows stronger. Dolores' perspective encourages readers to be themselves without caring what other people think or say. The book is divided into six self-contained episodes, each one a story in itself. However, they all work together to create a picture of who Dolores really is in many different situations. Readers will feel like they truly know and love Dolores by the time they finish this engaging book. 2002, Harper Collins, 135 pp.,
Gr 7-10-Witty dialogue, nonconformist antics, and mature insights bring loner Dolores to life in this sequence of seven stories that reveals pivotal moments in her life. At age seven, she is rescued from abductors by her older brother Jimmy, who works at Wal-Mart as a music guru in the CD department. While her divorced parents vie for influence over their children, Dolores appreciates the predictability and bohemian encouragement of her father, who buys her an electric guitar and signs her up for ice hockey in spite of the restrictive attitudes of her disapproving mother. Dolores is comfortable with herself. Sixth-grade playground teasing and rumors about her prematurely big chest and her supposed crush on a female teacher go nowhere because the girl calmly turns the other cheek. At a high school party, the teen eludes the mocking sexual intent of a macho basketball star and finds kindness and a shared music interest with William, a classmate who has admired her from afar. And finally, at age 16, Dolores is abducted by a passerby, but this time she saves herself. Do is an intriguing, sophisticated character whose clever verbal sparring reveals truths about herself and others. Her brother and father are constants in her life, and she is a loner but not lonely. Brooks taps into adolescent interests with his timely references to music, fashion, and sports. In Dolores, he has created an engaging character whose indomitable spirit defies labels, abuse, and conformity, and whose coming-of-age vignettes are both lighthearted and liberated.-Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
In this meticulously written short-story collection, Brooks chronicles the life of a singular young girl as she travels the rocky road from seven to sixteen. Symmetrical in that it starts out with her attempted kidnapping and ends with her attempted rape, Dolores copes with the breakup of her parents, spars with some school bullies, develops her own mode of cheerleading, bickers with her mother, and finally meets a young man worthy of her smarts and style. Articulate and opinionated, Dolores is a winning heroine, gifted with a fierce intelligence, a combative personality, and an unconventional turn of mind. Girls should admire the tough-minded Dolores, who at 12 speaks with a vocabulary and self-possession a woman of 40 could envy. And there's the rub. Although Dolores is a fetching and fascinating creation, she's such a poised and complete personality that she doesn't seem to be quite of this earth. Few sixth-grade girls would coolly ask an enemy why "instead of coming over and asking a direct question, you . . . hang back and plan campaigns of malicious rumors." Additionally, it's not clear just who the author is writing for. For example, although the story "Ladies for Lunch" is both touching and trenchant, it reads like it's a tale written for adults that just happens to have a child character in it. Still, Brooks wows the reader with his finely honed craft, piercing dry wit, and clever turn of phrase. (Fiction. 10+)