cover image When Does the Fun Start?

When Does the Fun Start?

Jean Thesman. Avon Books, $3.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-380-76129-6

This silly novel is likely to frustrate fans of the talented and versatile author's earlier books ( Rachel Chance ; the Whitney Cousins series; The Rain Catchers , to name a few). Its plot--a shaggy dog tale with an unfunny punch line--just isn't substantial enough to support an entire story. Thesman's typically breezy narrative voice here seems coy. The story revolves around the misunderstandings that begin when Teddy sees her steady boyfriend, Zack, hugging another girl. Reliable Zack is so obviously devoted to Teddy that there must be some reasonable explanation; but when confronted, Zack claims that he has promised not to reveal either the identity of the mysterious girl or the reason he was hugging her. A series of squabbles and near reconciliations ensues. Also featured are two tedious running gags about Teddy's driving lessons and her father's efforts to fix the front yard gate. Teddy's family is so self-consciously goofy that they are practically a parody of the amiable eccentrics who inhabit Thesman's other novels. Ages 12-up. (Dec.)