Oren Bell

Barbara Hood Burgess, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $15 (0p) ISBN 978-0-385-30325-5
Deep in the heart of Detroit, Oren Bell starts seventh grade in the Spiro Spill Elementary School. Instead of dividing her class into groups by ability, the new teacher assigns each student a buddy for the year--for Oren, it's crybaby Wesley Wrigley Fry, a white girl from the suburbs. Oren's condemned house, which may be haunted by Spiro Spill himself, becomes the class's research project, while next door, a crack house is the focus of both temptation and fear. In her first novel, Burgess convinces the reader that escape from Detroit's inner city is not the goal: there is a history and culture that offer far more than the traditional dead end. Yet the story transcends its setting--as in Sounder or A Wrinkle in Time , a strong, memorable family, rich with character, humor and moral fiber, makes Oren Bell an outstanding choice. Ages 10-14. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Paperback - 978-0-440-40747-8
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