Long Time Passing

Linda Crew, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $15.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-385-32496-0
The Vietnam War sets the stage for this meandering portrait of first love and self-discovery. Crew's (Fire on the Wind) earnest heroine, Kathy Shay, seems consistently out of focus as she makes surface attempts to find her identity. Rejected by the Junior Varsity Rally Squad (""The Chosen Ones""), the sophomore decides to become a folksinger, rejecting Peter Pan collars in favor of protesting the war. She abandons singing for acting (where the kids dream of Haight-Ashbury and smoke marijuana), acting for painting, and finally emerges as a writer. Although writing is presented as her destiny (""Kathy could never stop herself from turning real life into stories""), it rings hollow because she never evinces much interest in writing or literature. Crew is most convincing in Kathy's romance with James, a passionate liberal who loves her for being unafraid to speak her mind. Their virginal kisses (""ever since James, it seemed life had become, at every turn, magically beautiful. Golden daffodils, purple mountains""), idealistic plans and eventual, tearful parting make the second half of the novel more involving than the first. For the sake of a happy ending (James and Kathy find each other again years later and get married), romance lovers may forgive the novel its shaky start. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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