Piano Man

Joyce Sweeney, Author
Joyce Sweeney, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $15 (227p) ISBN 978-0-385-30534-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 240 pages - 978-0-440-21915-6
Hardcover - 978-0-385-30724-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-440-90127-3
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Less compelling than some of Sweeney's previous novels ( The Dream Collector ; Face the Dragon ), this story about teen love nevertheless offers more than fluff. Deidre, the 14-year-old heroine, emerges as a slightly cynical culinary wizard who develops a crush on neighbor Jeff, a professional pianist with a broken heart. While Deidre offers consolation in the form of nutmeg muffins and stuffed veal roasts, her cousin Susan falls head over heels in love with Curt, a fast-moving 16-year-old with a violent temper. As might be expected, disappointments occur when the girls' romantic illusions are shattered by reality. Deidre realizes she is too young to replace Jeff's ex-girlfriend; Susan's relationship with Curt is quickly ended when she discovers the depth of his psychological problems. Except for one startling revelation regarding Curt's history of abuse, the novel contains few surprises; yet the author's honest, intelligent narrative and sparkling sense of humor should be enough to keep teen romance fans engaged. Ages 12-up. (May)
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