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12 AGAIN

Sue Corbett, Author . Dutton , (160p) ISBN (160p) ISBN 978-0-525-46899-8

Irish folklore supplies the ingredients for debut author Corbett's creative contemporary fantasy, set in Long Island, N.Y. When stressed-out mom and Newsday reporter Bernadette McBride unwittingly drinks a potion just before making a toast "to youth," she wakes up and finds herself age 12 again, living in her childhood home with her Irish-born mother (who died in Bernadette's adulthood). Eventually, she discovers fairy magic is at work; while it's modern times outside the house, inside it's 1972. The story alternates between her perspective and that of Patrick, the oldest of her three sons, and readers get a strong sense of their emotions. Bernadette is thrilled to see her mother again but misses her family fiercely, feeling especially guilty for heaping too much responsibility on Patrick; he regrets thinking of her as a "burr on his shoelace." Bernadette, enrolled at school as "Detta," shares a class with Patrick, but doesn't want anyone, not even Patrick, to know about her transformation. In addition to the colorful folk traditions, Corbett supplies funny details as Bernadette adjusts to middle school (she bests a bully and is stumped when classmates ask her if she likes the Backstreet Boys). Though many of Bernadette's sentiments may make more sense to adults (particularly her ardent desire to please her mother) and some of the premise is fuzzy (Bernadette delays contacting Patrick for flimsy reasons), overall, this is a well-orchestrated and heartwarming read. Ages 10-14. (July)

Reviewed on: 07/22/2002
Release date: 07/01/2002
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FORMATS
Paperback - 227 pages - 978-0-14-240729-5
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4178-2763-3
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