cover image Did You Hear about Amber?

Did You Hear about Amber?

Cherie Bennett / Author Puffin Books $3.5 (224p) ISBN 978-0-14

Bennett, author of the Sunset Island books, kicks off her Surviving 16 trilogy with the tale of smart, beautiful, exceedingly haughty Amber, a talented dancer who lives with her single mother in a rundown house on the wrong side of the tracks. As she rides to her 16th birthday party in a stretch limo, drinking champagne with ``the coolest, richest kids at school,'' Amber is on top of the world. But not for long. Her rapid weight loss and sore, stiff joints turn out to be more than a case of the flu. Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, Amber realizes she will never dance again and she swallows a handful of tranquilizers. But a neighborhood boy who has long loved her rushes her to the hospital in the nick of time. Predictably, the humbled girl reevaluates her priorities and all ends on a hopeful note. Though Bennett's plot offers few surprises, her smooth writing and snappy dialogue will wow Lurlene McDaniels fans. Ages 12-up. (June)