Cassandra Live at Carnegie Hall

Nancy J. Hopper, Author Dial Books $15.99 (160p) ISBN 978-0-8037-2329-0
Cassandra's dreams of lazing by the lake during the summer of 1944 suddenly dissolve just as she finishes eighth grade. Her mother abruptly announces that she is taking Cassandra and her younger sister, Annie Jack, from Connecticut to New York City, so that they can join their father, a bandleader. Credibly adopting a 13-year-old's voice, Hopper (I Was a Fifth-Grade Zebra) describes how Cassandra lives in a cramped, stuffy studio in Carnegie Hall, posing as her father's cousin from Wisconsin (so as not to tarnish his professional image as a handsome bachelor) and desperately missing her friends. Things turn sunnier when Cassandra meets Tony, a street-smart neighbor whose family has a vaudeville act. Tony becomes her first beau and shows her some of the city's attractions, including the Central Park Zoo and a mime show on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum. Despite these sightseeing expeditions and occasional allusions to soldiers and the war raging ""on the other side of the world,"" the story fails to evoke a persuasive sense of time and place. Instead of offering readers a compelling portrait of a teen and her era, the author delivers a more superficial snapshot that is pleasant to view but unlikely to leave a lasting impression. Ages 10-13. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
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