Brigid Lowry, Author . Holiday $16.95 (205p) ISBN 0-8234-1827-8

Narrated by a 16-year-old, this inviting Australian novel by the author of Guitar Highway Rose doesn't so much follow a clear trajectory as it unwinds different yarns, "like a whole lot of balls of brightly colored wool thrown in a basket, with stray beginnings and endings and possibilities everywhere." Bec's mother, a celebrity chef, is being sent on a five-week book tour, and Bec's father, newly recovered from depression, is going with her. They leave Bec and her younger brother and sister with a hired housekeeper, Mrs D, aka Doreen the Dreadful or Dorky Doreen. But Bec's about to embark on adventures on her own. She wins $500 from a lottery ticket, crushes on her friend's brother but snogs his friend instead. Then Mrs D breaks her leg, resulting in a whole new round of complications. Readers will find Bec's anecdotes compelling, as well as the details that bring her world into view (early on, she relates a story about her spirited little sister cutting her own hair and telling their horrified mother to "Get a grip, Vera"). The imaginative narrator brightens her story with inventive interludes, such as instructions for dyeing hair with henna, letters from her parents and a poem that she and her friend Jaz write in English class. The audience will end up immersed in Bec's observations, and joining her in following Mrs D's advice to "lighten up and enjoy the ride." Ages 12-up. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 05/03/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
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