cover image Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green

Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green

Helen Phillips. Delacorte, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-385-74236-8

Though it’s not science fiction, there’s more than a little A Wrinkle in Time in this ecological adventure from adult author Phillips (And Yet They Were Happy). Twelve-year-old Mad and nine-year-old Roo’s father has been gone for seven months, studying birds on the grounds of a lavish Central American eco-resort. Problem is, Dad should only have been gone a few weeks; when the school year ends, the family heads south to visit him under the smiling but strict escort of developer Ken/Neth, whose bumbling orders and transparent manipulations Mad pitilessly chronicles. Dad is there, but he is strangely changed and accessible only by appointment. Roo is convinced that there’s a secret code to break in her father’s odd gestures. Mad is willing to go along, admiring her sister’s candor and will even as she herself wrestles with more complex perceptions of what is happening. Mad’s observations (and exasperation) are entertaining and true, in stark contrast to the lies, benevolent or otherwise, that the adults around her tell. Ages 10–up. Agent: Faye Bender, Faye Bender Literary Agency. (Nov.)