Venola in Love

Cheryl Ware, Author, Kristin Sorra, Illustrator Orchard Books (NY) $15.95 (156p) ISBN 978-0-531-30306-1
""I promise to carry you with me in my backpack at all times and to protect you from prying eyes as I capture the most exciting and heart-wrenching moments of the second half of my seventh-grade year,"" writes Ware's (Sea Monkey Summer) plucky title character in her new diary. In its pages, Venola confides--candidly, comically and often melodramatically--goings-on at school and at home, where she is the youngest of six children, with a new baby on the way. Once her family acquires a computer, Venola also bares her soul in e-mail messages to her best friend, Sally, and occasionally to her brother's big-hearted girlfriend, Gwen (who happens to be the sister of Nathan, a new boy in Venola's class, and the ultimately unrequited love interest alluded to in the novel's title). Readers will grin easily at many of the preteen's observations, among them her description of square dancing during gym class, when ""The boys approach us like it's some kind of primal battlefield, and pass us back and forth with such velocity that some girls come near to passing out, but others of us have learned to stomp toes with the best of the guys."" Sorra creates humorous doodles on Venola's diary pages, and the heroine's ingenuous voice moves this tale along at a perky pace. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
Library Binding - 156 pages - 978-0-531-33306-8
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