Faye, 16, wrapped in a black feathered jacket despite the summer heat, is nicknamed ``Crow'' by the old folks in the retirement complex. None of them, except Gertie, understands Faye's distress. None of them understands her sadness, loneliness and her struggle to conceal scoliosis. But Faye is just as guilty of misjudging others; she thinks Marcia ``The Beauty'' has no troubles in life. Over the course of a summer, Faye discovers that people are not as they appear: some are stronger than they seem; others are more frightened than they appear. And some, like Faye, are more beautiful and loving than they know themselves. The novel, written in the present tense, contains some impressive imagery, and Gerber's descriptions of Faye's aloofness and the old people's mannerisms are poignant. Unfortunately, Faye is the only multidimensional character, so when she and the others begin to interact it is not wholly credible. Still, Faye's self-discovery is real and meaningful. Ages 12-up. (February)
Gr 7-9 Teenage Faye Marcus lives at the Sea `n Surf Retirement Apartments in Florida with her crippled Viet Nam vet father, who manages the complex. Faye goes around huddled in her huge down jacket, refusing to talk or smile, and bitterly envying Marcia, the beautiful granddaughter of Sea `n Surf's owner, who practices her swimming in the complex's pool. Faye swims only at night, for she has scoliosis and sees herself as ugly, deformed. Old Gertie Roth teaches Faye that everyone has troubles at one time or another. By the story's end, through fairly believable plot development, Faye is overcoming her negative self-centeredness, is undergoing treatment for scoliosis, and has gained Gertie's grandson Simon as a boyfriend. Characterization is convincing, and the serious but promising mood is sustained well in this surprisingly bounteous teenage story. Alice Cronin, Mountainside Pub . Lib . , N.J.