cover image Coast to Coast

Coast to Coast

Betsy Cromer Byars. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $14 (164pp) ISBN 978-0-385-30787-1

Byars, a licensed amateur pilot, brings her knowledge of and enthusiasm for flying to this novel of the cross-country flight an impetuous 13-year-old and her grandfather make in his Piper Cub. As they traverse unfamiliar landscapes Birch ventures into new emotional territory as well, going on her first date, learning the truth about an old family secret and seeing herself, her loved ones, and life itself with new clarity and force. These elements lend substance to the jaunty narrative, but what distinguishes it most of all is Birch's infectious exuberance and her unquenchable spirit. This teenager's sheer delight in flight and her candid, spontaneous responses to the world at large--to its jewels and its warts--make this trip well worth the ride. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)