Catherine MacPhail, Author . Bloomsbury $14.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-58234-773-8

Thirteen-year-old Maxine, protagonist of MacPhail's (Run Zan Run) unconvincing novel, believes that her parents "hadn't any room in their thoughts, in their hearts... for her"; her older brother has been missing for 10 months, and they are obsessed with finding him. Sometimes she almost hates Derek and sometimes she wishes that "he had just died." But after her father identifies his body, her mother is inconsolable and begins seeking out mediums to communicate with her dead son. Meanwhile, Maxine receives mysterious phone calls from someone claiming to be Derek; Maxine wonders if it's a ghost or a bully out to hurt her, or perhaps it really is her brother after all. While Maxine's complicated feelings for her missing brother are understandable, other aspects of the novel, unfortunately, come across as too extreme, such as Maxine's father's angry reactions to her skipping school and to her attempts to talk to him about the phone calls, as well as the remarkably facile family therapy session in which Maxine is finally able to tell her parents how neglected she feels and get confirmation of their love. Ages 10-up. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/28/2002
Release date: 11/01/2002
Paperback - 203 pages - 978-1-4088-1734-6
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