cover image The Birthday Girls: I'm Not Telling

The Birthday Girls: I'm Not Telling

Jean Thesman. Avon Books, $2.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-380-76523-2

CeeGee, Nancy and Jill meet one another at a party thrown for all the kids who were born on the same day in the same hospital in Seattle. Also in attendance is the gorgeous but malicious Maggie Tracey--the villainess of this trio of books--and her equally nasty mother. Soon CeeGee, Nancy and Jill have more in common than just a birthday: for no apparent reason, Maggie and her mother go out of their way to dredge up enough unpleasantness to ruin the day for the three girls and fill them with self-doubt for quite a while to come. The bulk of each novel is taken up with the events following the ill-starred party, and the struggle of each of the three heroines to cope with the havoc Maggie has wrought. The stories, earnest and well-intentioned as they are, are actually rather slight, never achieving the emotional intensity of the author's earlier Whitney Cousins trilogy, let alone her more serious novels ( Rachel Chance and Where the Road Ends , among others). Still, Thesman's breezy narration, as well as the allure of a single tale told from several points of view, should find favor with the intended audience. Ages 8-12. (July)