cover image Sydney, Herself

Sydney, Herself

Colby F. Rodowsky. Farrar Straus Giroux, $15 (182pp) ISBN 978-0-374-30649-6

When a new writing teacher asks his students to keep journals, Sydney begins hers reluctantly. But gradually her journal and her other writing assignments focus on her belief that she is the daughter of a rock superstar. Not content with her mother's rather ordinary version of the events of her birth, Sydney seeks out evidence that her real father is one of the Boomerangs--a group not unlike the Beatles or the Rolling Stones in status. It will be clear to readers that Sydney needs an escape fantasy just to survive real life: she lives in a house with a batty landlady where there is no privacy, and her mother places restrictions on both her own life and Sydney's in the name of keeping the peace. Perhaps because the Boomerangs are only referred to, and never ``onstage'' for readers, their existence and Sydney's fictions about them never seem real. To readers, Sydney obviously is deluding herself from the outset, and ultimately her fantasies become a little boring. But because other parts of this are so engaging (the landlady, and Sydney's groping with her mother's fallibility), there is balance; this is a witty book, served up with honest intentions. Ages 12-up. (June)