California Blue

David Klass, Author Scholastic $14.95 (200p) ISBN 978-0-590-46688-2
In this beautifully rendered novel, Klass ( Wrestling with Honor ; A Different Season ) transforms an abstract environmental issue into a compelling story of a boy in transition from adolescence to adulthood. The book owes some of its success to how the author sidesteps dogmatism while still making clear his environmentalist point of view. The protagonist, John Rodgers, has to face three troubling facts. First, his father, with whom John has never really gotten along, has been diagnosed with leukemia and is likely to die soon. Second, John has discovered a new species of butterfly and wants to preserve it, but the butterfly lives on land owned by the local mill, and any governmental protection of the area will be bitterly resisted by the entire town, including John's parents. And finally, John has fallen in love with his high school biology teacher, who does not entirely rebuff his attentions. Klass handles these complex situations with grace and subtlety; an unusual and credible inclusion is Miss Merrill's honest acknowledgement to her student that she has strong feelings for him. The absorbing first-person narration rings true, projecting the credible voice of a teenager just beginning to break free from his emotional ties to home, family and friends. The fears, excitement, anger and energy of this awkward psychological time are movingly captured here. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/04/1994
Release date: 04/01/1994
Prebound-Other - 200 pages - 978-0-606-08709-4
Prebound-Sewn - 199 pages - 978-0-7807-5956-5
Prebound-Glued - 208 pages - 978-0-613-00017-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 199 pages - 978-0-590-46689-9
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