Hiroshima Dreams

Kelly Easton, Author Dutton Children's Books $16.99 (198p) ISBN 978-0-525-47821-8

What starts out as a touching coming-of-age story, evolves into a somewhat cluttered plot spanning 11 years. The novel is parceled into three sections, the first of which is devoted to narrator Lin's early childhood, after her grandmother comes from Japan to live with the introverted five-year-old and her interracial family (Lin's father is of Irish descent). As Lin gets to know Obaachan (the Japanese word for grandmother), she learns about both Japanese culture and traditions and the clairvoyant powers that she and her grandmother share. Lin's interactions with her sage, frail grandmother are endearing, if occasionally overwrought. (""Out of everything that is sad and difficult, something good eventually grows.... like the lotus blossom from the mud."") The second section centers on Lin's development as she heads into her teen years: in a few short pages, she helps find a missing child by using her ""powers,"" gets her period, sees the attack on the World Trade Center on TV, and watches her grandmother die from leukemia. Flash forward again to the last section where everything wraps up a bit too neatly for 17-year-old Lin, including a budding romance with the boy she's crushed on for ages, and her attempt to put Obaachan's death behind her. These events are important, but aren't always given the attention they deserve-readers may be left wanting more. Ages 12-up.