cover image FIFTEEN LOVE


Robert Corbet, . . Walker, $16.95 (186pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-8851-1

Alternating the points of view of two smitten 15-year-olds, Australian author Corbet (The Passenger Seat) humorously displays the painful side of falling in love for the first time. Will, a tennis player, and Mia, a violist, reveal to readers their attraction to each other from the outset. But every time their paths converge, disaster seems to follow. Initially, Will is struck dumb whenever he runs into Mia in the school corridors ("Thank you for calling Men Who Can't Speak. We have placed you in a very long line," Will thinks to himself). After Will eventually finds his tongue and asks Mia to a tennis tournament, miscommunications turn the first date into a comedy of errors. Ironically, Will starts dating Mia's (ex-) best friend, Vanessa, while Mia (having discovered that her father is having an affair) gives up on men altogether ("It's official.... All men are evil," she declares to her mother). In the end, it is Will's feisty paraplegic brother, Dave, and Mia's mischievous beagle, Harriet, who (accidentally) save the day, bringing the teens together for an all's-well-that-ends-well conclusion. Besides providing witty dialogue and hilarious misfortunes, the author adroitly invents characters complicated enough to be interesting and genuine enough to draw sympathy from readers. Anyone who has experienced the stumbling blocks along the path to love will appreciate the awkward first steps of Mia's and Will's romance. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)