cover image Someone to Count on

Someone to Count on

Patricia Hermes. Little Brown and Company, $15.95 (184pp) ISBN 978-0-316-35925-2

Samantha often feels more like her mother's husband than her daughter: 11-year-old Sam keeps track of the money; she navigates when they drive; and she feels decidedly plain next to Elizabeth's feminine good looks. Sam finds herself ``wishing Elizabeth was more like other people's moms,'' wishing the two of them didn't move around so much, wishing they could develop ties to other family members. These wishes threaten to become true when the two stay at the Colorado ranch of Elizabeth's father--to whom she hasn't spoken since Sam's birth. Allowing Sam to narrate, Hermes ( Mama, Let's Dance ) portrays an emotionally strong, intuitive and intelligent girl's increasing consciousness, and ultimate acceptance, of her mother's weaknesses. Her protagonist's situation is all too familiar--a parent who ``acts like a kid'' and a kid who doesn't feel like one--and she gives it a particularly subtle and complex treatment. Ages 10-up. (Nov.)