The Trouble with Zinny Weston

Amy Goldman Koss, Author Dial Books $15.99 (112p) ISBN 978-0-8037-2287-3
In her first novel, Koss (Where Fish Go in Winter) presents a memorable duo, Ava and Zinny, neighbors in a brand-new development. The fifth graders have a lot in common besides their identical houses. They share wacky senses of humor, high aspirations (Ava wants to be a singer; Zinny a costume designer) and fearless imaginations. On the other hand, Ava has one dog, a lizard, two birds, two hermit crabs, two rats and a bunny, while Zinny and her mother think that animals are ""filthy"" and carry disease. Trouble brews when Zinny's mother kills a raccoon that has eaten all the koi in her designer fishpond. Someone calls the Animal Protection Society and Zinny mistakenly thinks it is Ava. While Zinny and her parents come off as a little too cold-hearted (and may alienate pet owners), Ava is both convincing and charismatic, and Koss clearly knows the dynamics of middle-school friendships and how small misunderstandings can explode into war. Ava's soul-searching during her spat with Zinny raises pertinent questions about human versus animal rights. Readers' opinions may sway before the girls resolve their differences and swear ""never to blame each other for the stuff that's not our fault."" Ages 9-12. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
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