Lisa Jahn-Clough, Author . Houghton/Lorraine $15 (185p) ISBN 978-0-618-44791-6

Jahn-Clough's (On the Hill ) protracted tale centers on the friendship between two teens with dissimilar backgrounds. Narrator Phoebe, a friendless 13-year-old who lives on a Maine farm, wears her hair in braids and delights in reading fairy tales to her goat. Melita, a 14-year-old who sports stylish fashions and a purple streak in her hair, arrives from Manhattan to spend the summer on the farm when her mother (a college friend of Phoebe's late mother) enrolls in a clinic after a suicide attempt. The story assumes the sleepy pace of the girls' days: shutterbug Phoebe photographs Melita, Melita shows Phoebe how to apply makeup and they make plans to stage a fashion show in which they'll dress as fairy tale characters and "reidentify them as modern young women." Phoebe's infatuation with her friend takes on a new dimension when Melita teaches her how to kiss on the lips ("Like a fairy tale. I'll be the boy, the prince. You can be the princess"), during which Phoebe reflects, "I'm kissing ... I'm kissing Melita . And it was exciting." As she grapples with her confusion surrounding her feelings, Phoebe makes some credible reflections ("Is this what it meant to have a best friend? Were you supposed to want to kiss your best friend?"). She then contends with jealousy when she visits Melita in the city and learns she has a crush on a young French man. The author's descriptions of Phoebe's colliding emotions ring true and the girl's fervent desire to learn more about the mother she never knew adds a poignant note. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 12/06/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 185 pages - 978-0-547-22322-3
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-0-547-34786-8
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