TAKEOFFS AND LANDINGS

Margaret Peterson Haddix, Author . S&S $16 (208p) ISBN 978-0-689-83299-4

Despite an intriguing premise and format, Haddix's (Among the Imposters, reviewed June 11) novel may well stretch readers' credibility when years of problems are resolved in one brief summer trip. Siblings 15-year-old Chuck and 14-year-old Lori Lawson go on their first plane ride to join their motivational-speaker mother on a two-week five-city tour, and the teens end up learning about a lot more than fancy hotels and airports. Through Lori and Chuck's alternating perspectives (their mom breaks in occasionally to offer her point of view), readers discover just how angry the seemingly perfect Lori is towards her almost always absent mother and about overweight and clumsy Chuck's self-loathing—they even learn why their mother won't talk about their father's death eight years ago. Haddix credibly maps out the Lawsons' dynamics and fills in some interesting details about growing up in agricultural Pickford County (in their chapters, Lori and Chuck discuss 4-H club and taking pigs to slaughter) but the three characters' chapters rotate so quickly that readers rarely get to settle into any one story line. The characters experience dramatic breakthroughs at the conclusion, each unearthing buried secrets from within themselves. But the revelations come too quickly and undermine the authenticity of the previous chapters. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/20/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Glued - 208 pages - 978-0-613-61821-2
Prebound-Glued - 201 pages - 978-0-7569-4255-7
Paperback - 201 pages - 978-0-689-85543-6
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-4424-5779-9
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