Tessa

Barbara Steiner, Author Morrow Junior Books $11.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-07232-2
Set in rural Arkansas in 1946, this books starts out well enough, but then begins to meander like the title character's favorite stream. Tessa Mae, 14, can't wait for school to be over so she can roam the woods looking for Indian artifacts with her father, Roy Glen, and go swimming with Jec, a black boy who is her only friend. But things don't go as smoothly as Tessa Mae wishes. Her parents split up and Tessa Mae moves into town; there's a barrier forming between herself and Jec; and Guy, a handsome college student, accompanies Roy Glen on his archeological searches. Steiner (Oliver Dibbs to the Rescue!) has all the right elements for an engaging story but doesn't seem to carry them through. The tensions between Tessa Mae (Guy renames her Tessa) and the other characters, particularly her mother and Jec, are unresolved, and Tessa Mae's mother is a flat, one-note character. Still, the story is pleasant and its setting is richly evoked. Ages 12-up. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1988
Release date: 04/01/1988
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