You're Dead, David Borelli

Susan M. Brown, Author Atheneum Books $15 (155p) ISBN 978-0-689-31959-4
This riches-to-rags-to-riches saga chokes on cliches and contrivances. David Borelli, 13, grieves for his dead mother; his father, a corporate executive, isn't home much but has hired a warm and loving housekeeper to care for David. One night, police arrive to arrest Mr. Borelli for embezzling-but the crafty man has wordlessly left town, and his shocked son is ultimately placed in brusque Mrs. Kagan's foster care. There David meets the requisite group of tough kids with hearts of gold, redeems his feisty roommate Rags by diagnosing his illiteracy, and boosts his own self-esteem by becoming a star soccer player. Along the way David uncovers a vastly wealthy estranged grandfather in his family tree, then demonstrates his integrity in a thornily negotiated reconciliation. Treacly, and likely to interfere with readers' perceptions of real-life hardships. Ages 9-13. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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