T-Backs, T-Shirts, Coat, and Suit

E. L. Konigsburg, Author Atheneum Books $16.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-689-31855-9
Newbery Medal winner Konigsburg introduces another of her typically saturnine heroines in this tart, smart novel. Suburban New Jerseyite Chloe is spending the summer in Florida with her aunt Bernadette. A one-time commune dweller, Bernadette is like nothing from Chloe's universe: she drives a commissary van and sells junk food at roadsides, she expertly teaches Chloe to swim but will not go in the water herself, and she puts wild mushrooms and flowers in her salads. Chloe overcomes her own taste for the ironic to develop an unvarnished affection for Bernadette, who likewise softens, relaxing her strict guard on her own privacy. Konigsburg gives this movingly developed friendship extra weight by centering her tale on timely, thoughtful plot lines: Two shapely new commissary drivers start wearing ``T-backs''--G-string-like bathing suits--denting Bernadette's sales and causing an outcry from local conservatives. Bernadette will not don a T-back, nor will she oppose the costume on moral grounds, despite pressure from a fundamentalist group. In a twist that will especially interest admirers of Konigsburg's Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth . . . , Chloe decides to punish the smug son of one of the T-back wearers by convincing him that Bernadette is a witch--only to discover, too late, that the son is aligned with the fundamentalists. The issues are as complicated as the characters; teenagers as well as the target audience will enjoy this book. Ages 9-12. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/04/1993
Release date: 10/01/1993
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-0-7868-1027-7
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-0-7868-1359-9
Prebound-Other - 165 pages - 978-0-606-08260-0
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7807-5401-0
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7857-6684-1
Paperback - 165 pages - 978-0-689-85682-2
Paperback - 165 pages - 978-1-4169-5877-2
Prebound-Glued - 176 pages - 978-0-613-61661-4
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4424-2925-3
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