Tracy, 16, and her family leave Manhattan for a year to try living on Grandma Tilly's farm in the country. Tracy's parents and 14-year-old brother adjust quickly, but Tracy is resentful and homesick for the city. Things begin to brighten when Tracy meets Anya, a Russian foreign-exchange student. Despite occasional conflicts when discussing politics, the two girls develop a strong friendship. When Tracy's grandmother suffers a stroke and subsequently dies, the family must pull together to keep the farm running. Tracy learns a great deal about farm life, people and helping others, but hers is a rather ordinary story. Like the title, this book is warm but rather predictable. Ages 11-up. (February)
Gr 7-10 Tracy Jensen and her family are spending Tracy's junior year living on Grandmother Tilly's farm. Tracy does not want to leave New York City, and her condescending attitude initially alienates her from classmates. A friendship with a visiting Russian student and a blossoming romance with a ``country'' boy convert Tracy; she eventually reconsiders her val ues and embraces country life despite her beloved grandmother's death. Home Sweet Home is narrated primarily by Tra cy, with excerpts from her brother's diary and her Russian friend's journal. Unfortu nately, little is gained by this alternating perspective; Tommy and Anya's journal entries seem more like padding and add very little flesh to either the plot or the characterizations. The family copes too well during Tilly's illness; few families could so selflessly care for an invalid. Norma Klein's Going Backwards (Scho lastic, 1986) is a more realistic look at the problems associated with caring for elder ly relatives. Tracy's conversion to coun try living is too abrupt; she is so obnox ious for the first three quarters of the novel that many readers will find it diffi cult to accept her transformation. There is enough romance to attract romance fans, though, and despite its flaws, this is better reading than most of the popular romance series. Susan H. Williamson, Homer Center High School, Pa.