cover image Recipe for Rebellion

Recipe for Rebellion

Cathy Hopkins, . . Houghton/Kingfisher, $5.95 (177pp) ISBN 978-0-7534-5896-9

Hopkins (the Mates, Dates series) kicks off the Zodiac Girls series with this somewhat silly yet quick-moving novel centering on an angry, lonely 13-year-old. When her widower father goes off to South America on an archeological dig, Danu is sent to live with her workaholic lawyer aunt in a sterile apartment. Feeling neglected and friendless, Danu plays a rather forced bad-girl role at her new school, hoping she'll get expelled for inane stunts she pulls off with tricks from a magic shop. But her life takes a change for the better—and the bizarre—after she encounters Joe, a cheerful fellow who runs a deli and tells her to check out his astrology Web site. When she visits the site, she learns that she has been selected as "this month's Zodiac Girl!!!!!," with Joe as her "guardian." Danu learns that Joe is the planet Jupiter "in human form," and he offers advice so she can transform her life, which she does with the help of his celestial-being pals. These include Mars, a martial arts instructor who teaches Danu to defend herself against neighborhood bullies, and Venus, a beautician who spiffs up Danu's appearance. Despite the novel's farfetched premise, the heroine emerges as a realistic, likable character. Readers will likely find her story's happy-ever-after ending quite satisfying and may well tune in for another Zodiac Girl's chance to change her life in From Geek to Goddess (ISBN 978-0-7534-5895-2), due out the same month. Ages 8-12. (May)