Leave the Cooking to Me

Judie Angell, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $15 (185p) ISBN 978-0-553-05849-9
Shirley Merton is a 15-year-old kitchen whiz who is offered her first real job after helping a friend's mother with a dinner party. Shirley opts to conceal her youth and identity by pretending that she works for the fictitious ``Vanessa,'' an elusive catering genius. The girl has another reason for fibbing: her widowed mother is a ``job snob,'' who wants Shirley's summer employment to be intellectually stimulating. Through word-of-mouth, Shirley's business mushrooms, as does her bankroll. When Mrs. Merton intercepts cryptic messages from their answering machine, she suspects that Shirley may be a drug dealer. Here the story strays off course; it would make more sense for this intelligent woman to confront her responsible daughter rather than resort to surreptitious detective work. Despite sometimes hokey and stilted dialogue, Angell's lighthearted novel is entertaining. Ages 12-up. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
Mass Market Paperbound - 192 pages - 978-0-553-29055-4
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