cover image The Whitney Cousins: Erin

The Whitney Cousins: Erin

Jean Thesman. Avon Books, $2.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-380-75875-3

This limited series combines brisk, chatty writing with engaging plotlines, but it is the author's perceptive characterizations and keen exploration of social issues that make her books notable. As Heather begins, the girl's mother remarries, and Heather finally has the family she thinks she has always wanted. But conflicts ensue involving her new stepfather and stepsister, which are ultimately resolved when Heather puts a stop to a nasty (and somewhat improbable) scheme to cheat her stepsister out of a scholarship. Amelia centers around the ugly aftermath of an attempted date rape. Flattered when Warren, a handsome senior, asks her out, Amelia's date becomes a disaster when she must fend off his sexual advances. With the help of her loyal friends and family, Amelia picks up the pieces of her life and eventually wreaks a satisfying revenge on Warren. Soon afterward, rebellious cousin Erin comes to stay with Amelia's family. Still angry over her parents' death in a car crash when she was 10, Erin is very confrontational, choosing to conceal her artistic talents and lonely, sensitive nature. The trilogy comes to a satisfying conclusion when Erin dares to love once again. In style and substance, the Whitney cousins compare favorably to Sweet Valley's Wakefield twins; this appealing trio proves that fluff can only improve when a bit of grit is added. Ages 12-up. (May)