cover image Devil's Bridge

Devil's Bridge

Cynthia C. DeFelice. MacMillan Publishing Company, $14 (95pp) ISBN 978-0-02-726465-4

As this novel opens, Ben Daggett, son of a local fisherman who caught the largest striped bass ever taken from the waters around Martha's Vineyard prepares to take part himself in the annual Striped Bass Derby. More importantly, the 12-year-old must come to terms with his father's death and his mother's involvement with a man he doesn't really like or even know. An element of suspense is introduced when a local fisherman tries to win the $10,000 prize by cheating; Ben inadvertently overhears the plot. DeFelice's (Weasel) suitably small-scale story-focusing inwardly on a boy's maturing process and outwardly on a bustling local fishing contest-moves skillfully toward a lyrical climax that may remind readers of Gary Paulsen's Tracker. The author's keen ear for true-to-life dialogue and knowledge of boys' attitudes and eccentricities make her latest work much more than a fish- ing story or a straightforward adventure; it is a multi-layered book with feeling. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)