Commander Coatrack Returns

Joseph McNair, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $13.95 (188p) ISBN 978-0-395-48295-7
Lisa, 13, has always been in charge of her disabled brother Cody, five; he took up so much of her time that she never bothered making any friends. So when Cody is enrolled in a special school and makes friends of his own, Lisa feels useless and rejected. Enter Robert, the new kid in Lisa's class and the first boy she's ever met whose brain hasn't been rotted by TV. To her pudgy, proto-punk friend Van's disgust, Lisa is drawn to Robert, who assumes a different identity every time he speaks--a bird to Jimmy, the school bully; Elvis Presley to Lisa's mother; a master engineer to Cody. Lisa learns from him--wrongly--that it's often easier to be someone else, which only gets her (and Jimmy) into trouble. In a panicked effort to bring back the way things were, Lisa yanks Cody out of school and tries to play his once-favorite game with him--with disastrous results. It's only then that she realizes that the changes at home are for the better, and that she can be liked and accepted just for who she is. In this odd, likable first novel, McNair interweaves seemingly disparate themes to produce a fresh, funny story with some pungent insights on growing up. Ages 10-14. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Paperback - 978-0-440-40479-8
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