cover image The Love Letters of J. Timothy Owen

The Love Letters of J. Timothy Owen

Constance C. Greene. HarperCollins Publishers, $11.95 (181pp) ISBN 978-0-06-022156-0

In her first novel for young adults, Constance Greene seems ill at ease with older readers: the dialogue is strained, and the story flags. Yet the premise, that a boy's first awkward attempts at love might parallel those of his parents, now divorced, to find new partners, is an interesting one. And Greene's half-hopeful, half-irreverent brand of humor leavens the topic well. Sixteen-year-old Tim would like the world to see him as ""a slightly off-the-wall, undercover intellectual''; but at such things as escorting his best friend's kid sister to a Catholic-school tea dance, he acts pretty much like many teens wouldembarrassed and foolish. The kid sister, meanwhile, is a fresh and intriguing surprisea bright spot in a somewhat labored, though often funny, book. (12-up)