cover image In with the Out Crowd

In with the Out Crowd

Norma Howe. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $12.95 (196pp) ISBN 978-0-395-40490-4

Robin Tweedy-Boyd, 16, is a member of the in-crowd until she chooses not to drink and not to sleep with BMOC Bill. Then they reject her and she's ""out.'' The kids she hasn't bothered with since grammar school suddenly gravitate to her. Emerson Day, who has loved Robin for years in spite of her scorning him, becomes student body president; Robin again becomes the center of an important social group. Howe encases Robin's story in numerous subplots, many of which are episodic and distracting. One exception is the touching story of Robin's trip to Venice with her zany grandmother and Alzheimer's-stricken grandfather. Peer group acceptance is a serious teenage dilemma, yet Robin is too glib and calculating to engage much empathy. The unrealistic portrayal of her fall and phoenix-like rise trivializes what could have been a poignant story. (12-up)