Planning the Impossible

Mavis Jukes, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $14.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-385-32243-0

Not a whole lot has changed in Mr. Elmo's sixth-grade class since Expecting the Unexpected. In this equally hilarious and energetic sequel, River, the irrepressible heroine, is still awaiting puberty, and she still has her eye on ""mmmmm! mmmmm!"" D.B., who is starting to return her gaze. River's antagonists, the girls in the limo-party clique, are as obnoxious as ever and even more devious, plotting to get River in trouble with her friends by signing her name to love notes sent to their boyfriends. Meanwhile, River and her friends are busy polishing their Guidebook for Sixth-Grade Parents, their response to an assignment from the ever-tolerant Mr. Elmo. Mrs. Furley (Furball) continues to teach Human Interactions (aka sex ed) and despite her embarrassing questions to the students and her flabby underarms (which ""got to jiggling in a scary way""), River thinks she ""could be hooked up"" with buddy Margaret's single dad. Jukes's multi-ring circus of classroom antics, preadolescent courtship and squabbles with parents and peers entertainingly depicts the middle-school experience. Offering on-target dialogue and a few twists, this book will leave readers itching for another installment. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)