The Queen of Dreamland

Ingrid Tomey, Author
Ingrid Tomey, Author Atheneum Books $15 (179p) ISBN 978-0-689-80458-8
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Tomey (The Neptune Princess) explores adoption-related issues in this initially far-fetched yet intermittently touching story. Julie thinks life with her dowdy, 50-something parents couldn't be more stultifying--they are utterly predictable and virtually smothering in their adoration of her. On her 14th birthday, Julie is lured to a meeting with her birth mother (who has the unlikely, retro-movie-star name Loretta Young). Operating the dream-interpretation equivalent of a psychic hotline, Loretta, whose flamboyant, gum-cracking, trash-fashion persona represents the appealingly exotic antithesis of Julie's flannel-slipper-wearing parents, is just this side of a caricature. Lying to her parents, Julie spends her Saturdays with Loretta and her wheelchair-bound son--Julie's half-brother--and begins giving Loretta the valuable objects laid aside for Julie in a hope chest. As Julie's lies to her parents multiply, so does her sense of guilt. Personalities painted in broad strokes early on reveal somewhat more nuance as the story progresses. The revelation that Loretta accepted cash from Julie's parents in order to go through with the adoption raises valuable questions, and ends the novel on a far less pat note than that on which it began. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)
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