cover image Cattail Moon CL

Cattail Moon CL

Jean Thesman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16 (197pp) ISBN 978-0-395-67409-3

Exhausted and depressed by her socialite mother's efforts to thwart her musical ambitions, talented pianist and singer Julia leaves Seattle to spend her sophomore year of high school with her father and grandmother in rural Moon Valley. The tiny town has no music teacher, but Julia finds inspiration in an unusual source: the sheet music that once belonged to musician and novelist Christine Woodmark, whose ghost haunts a nearby swamp. When she begins a tentative romance with a boy whose grandfather knew and loved Christine, Julia's identification with the artist grows stronger. Thrilling though these supernatural elements are, it is Julia's struggle to learn to stand up for herself and her music that gives this novel its lump-in-the-throat urgency. Recounted with Thesman's ( Molly Donnelly ; The Last April Dancers ) exuberant sense of humor and keen ear for dialogue, the scenes of Julia searching for a niche in her new school provide a satisfyingly down-to-earth counterpoint to the story's ghostly goings-on. Ages 10-14. (Apr.)