Mysterious MR Ross

Vivien Alcock, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $14.95 (161p) ISBN 978-0-385-29581-9
Felicity, 12, rescues a mysterious young man from drowning and brings him to her mother's boarding house. The young manwho calls himself Albert Rosscharms nearly everyone he meets. Soon local gossip has it that Mr. Ross is a famous explorer. Felicity, too, is enchanted by the stranger, but she can't help suspecting that he isn't quite what he appears to be. Felicity's best friend Bony is even more skeptical and sets out to prove that Ross is a fake. Bony's investigation gives rise to a new, mean-spirited set of rumors about Ross, and the townspeople turn against the young man they once welcomed. Literal truth is not entirely the point of this thoughtful, poetic depiction of small-town life, but it is frustrating that the linchpin of the storyRoss's identityis never revealed. Instead of giving him a spiritual or supernatural ambiguity that readers can live with, Alcock lets him remain a symbola mirror reflecting the desires of others. But through their encounter with him, Felicity, Bony and readers come to a greater understanding of themselves and a new awareness of the potentially destructive power of gossip. Ages 10-14. (September)
Reviewed on: 08/04/1987
Release date: 08/01/1987
Paperback - 978-0-440-40282-4
Hardcover - 978-0-7451-0759-2
Hardcover - 978-0-440-50235-7
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