Two Short One Long CL

Nina Ring Asmundsen, Author, Nina R. Aamundsen, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $13.95 (103p) ISBN 978-0-395-52434-3
The author (and translator) of this debut YA novel from Norway brings a light touch to painful issues. Jonas, the first-person narrator, describes his two-year-old friendship with Einar, who lives with grandparents. Although the boys are inseparable, Jonas knows little about Einar's past except what he has learned from his own mother: that Einar's parents were killed in an auto accident four years ago. Einar is always forgetting his things at Jonas's house--``so he has an excuse to come back,'' as Jonas's mother points out. Then a family of Afghan refugees, with a boy in Einar and Jonas's grade, moves to the neighborhood. Einar feels threatened by Jonas's overtures to the new boy, and the family's truncated past reminds Einar of his own losses. Gradually, Einar unburdens himself, disclosing the unhappy years after his parents' death when he was forced to live with a foster family, and grows more secure in his bond with Jonas. Deft and amusing portrayals of the pair's families, neighbors and teachers leaven the seriousness of Aamundsen's themes. Ages 9-13. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
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