cover image Sydney, Invincible

Sydney, Invincible

Colby F. Rodowsky. Farrar Straus Giroux, $14 (139pp) ISBN 978-0-374-37365-8

The sassy narrator of Sydney, Herself (1989) picks up only three months after that book left off, at the start of her junior year at Hawthorne Hills. Frustratingly, readers are denied the story of what must have been an action-packed summer, in which Sydney's mother married sculptor Sam Klemkoski and moved into Sam's house (with Sydney, of course), and Sydney became friends with nemesis ``Nat the Gat'' and more-than-friends with Wally, the older brother of Porter, her baby-sitting charge. The nexus of the plot is, once again, Sydney's writing class and its new teacher, this time the romantic Zephyr Kennealy, who promises that ``together we will turn words into pearls.'' Meanwhile, Wally and Porter's parents' marriage messily disintegrates and Sydney adjusts to the very public pregnancy of her mother, who is her history teacher this year. The main action revolves around Sydney's crisis of conscience as editor of the school newspaper and the ``perfidy'' of Zephyr, also the newspaper advisor. The first-person narration is as breezy and enjoyable as in Sydney's previous outing, and, although lacking the emotional intensity of its predecessor, this novel is both enjoyable and satisfying. Readers will look forward to Sydney's senior year. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)