DOORMAT

Kelly McWilliams, Author . Delacorte $15.95 (144p) ISBN 978-0-385-73168-3

First-time novelist McWilliams penned this amiable, often insightful tale at the age of 15, and introduces likable narrator Jaime, a self-described "pitiful little muddy-foot doormat" who feels "invisible." In contrast, the 14-year-old's best friend Melissa, an aspiring model, "stands out to the world. People notice her, all the time, for her looks, for her attitude, for her general superstar glow." Though Jaime has always been there for Melissa, she doesn't know how to react when her friend announces, "I think I'm pregnant. Can you help me?" Putting her head together with Zach, a kind classmate, and her levelheaded Aunt Sheila, Jaime finds a way to support Melissa. In the process, the heroine succeeds in becoming "undoormattish" as she pulls her own life together. She decides that she wants to be a playwright, begins dating Zach and—in what she calls "the most undoormattish thing of my life"—telephones her estranged father (and, rather curiously, impulsively tells him that she is pregnant). Not surprisingly given its spontaneous teenage narrator, the story contains some repetition and contradiction. But the author lays the groundwork for Jaime's success as a writer with the teen's perceptions of her situation and surroundings (e.g., referring to her hometown as "nowhere, California," she points out the irony of its name, Oasis: "Where I live, the ground is parched like it's thirsty"). McWilliams keeps her remarkably mature narrative from slipping into melodrama and gives young adults plenty to contemplate, marking her as a writer to watch. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 10/18/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Genre: Children's
Mass Market Paperbound - 131 pages - 978-0-440-23875-1
Library Binding - 131 pages - 978-0-385-90204-5
Open Ebook - 84 pages - 978-0-307-43330-5
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