Souvenirs

Melissa Snyder, Author
Melissa Snyder, Author Avon Books $8.6 (181p) ISBN 978-0-380-77805-8
Prebound-Other - 181 pages - 978-0-606-08187-0
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At the start of this contrived if standard-issue first novel, high school senior Kendall goes for a swim despite the posted warnings of a riptide. When she gets caught in the powerful current, her sister, Katie, swims out to try to rescue her. A lifeguard saves Kendall, but Katie drowns. Flashbacks to this tragedy haunt Kendall, who has always lived in the shadow of beautiful, smart Katie (who had ""a smile so bright that no one could ever resist smiling back""). Her grieving mother (whom Kendall overhears saying that she loved Katie more than anything in the world) withdraws from Kendall and her father spends long evenings drinking alone. Only when Kendall falls in love with Ian, an aspiring poet and actor, does she begin to heal. There are a few too many facile devices here, from the perfect sister to the close-to-perfect beau to a school play in which Kendall, understudying Juliet, is thrust into the part at the 11th hour and guess who is cast as Romeo? But believable enough dialogue and personable characters will engage the target audience, which is likely to forgive the banalities. Ages 12-up. (July)
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