Truth or Dairy

Catherine Clark, Author
Catherine Clark, Author Harper Teen $6.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-380-81443-5
Reviewed on: 05/01/2000
Release date: 05/01/2000
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-27338-1
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In another entry in the burgeoning category of Bridget Jones's Diary-esque YA novels, Clark's (What's So Funny About Ninth Grade?) tale may lack the bite of Rosie Rushton's recent Fab Five series and the wit of this season's Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison (reviewed Mar. 20), but it still hits adolescent themes head-on and with self-deprecating humor. ""I realize I may be psycho and also boyfriendless. And if so, I'm at risk of being a stereotype,"" writes heartbroken 17-year-old Courtney Von Dragen Smith, who finds solace in a diary after being dumped by her college-bound boyfriend, Dave, at the onset of senior year. Courtney's tendency to self-sabotage (such as straying off her soy mocha and tempeh burger diet for self-pity-induced hot-dog splurges) and her quest for self-improvement (e.g., her list of how to deal with the changes in her life: ""1. Hate Dave. 2. Try to move on by getting involved with other things. Which I am already doing by getting involved in student council. 3. Stop obsessing about Dave. Which I will do this instant"") also invoke her older British contemporary. Set in present-day Colorado, the novel (named for the ice cream vs. healthy smoothie caf where Courtney works) follows the protagonist through the first five months of senior year as she attempts to get over Dave, deal with a student council funds imbroglio and cope with trouble at her job, while trying to stay true to her oath not to date anyone before graduation. Popular and vain, the character of Courtney doesn't exactly encourage sympathy, but as with Bridget, it is in her flaws that her voice rings true. Ages 13-up. (May)
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