Second Sight

Avi, Author, Michael Green, Editor, Jeremy Engleman, Illustrator
Avi, Author, Michael Green, Editor, Jeremy Engleman, Illustrator Philomel Books $14.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-399-23458-3
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Madeleine L'Engle, Richard Peck and other favorite authors transit eight characters into the 21st century. These stories, mostly slices of realism with a hint of the supernatural, introduce universal teens with familiar conflicts. Not so coincidentally, most protagonists experience epiphanies on or around New Year's Eve. In Janet Taylor Lisle's tale, shortly before a girl rings in the year 2000 in Mexico with her family, she has a run-in with a teenage gang amongst Mayan ruins, which turns into a transformative experience. On the same evening, miles away, in Nancy Springer's selection, Mike plans to spend an uneventful night as disc jockey for a local radio station--until spectators in Times Square claim to have seen Jesus in the sky, and an accident seriously injures both a co-worker and his father. While the millennium theme lurks perhaps too conspicuously in the shadows of many stories, at least two authors manage to gracefully broaden it. Natalie Babbitt's timeless fantasy shows how a father, obsessed with glimpsing tomorrow, goes to absurd lengths to find out what the future has in store. Rita Williams-Garcia's lyrical tale, with its folkloric quality, mourns the loss of age-old traditions as modern concerns obscure the importance of family roots (""Gone is the simple need to shake off the world and be among the familiar""). Ages 10-up. (Oct.)
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