cover image Snail Mail No More

Snail Mail No More

Paula Danziger. Scholastic, $16.95 (307pp) ISBN 978-0-439-06335-7

With just a glance at the cover of this alternately funny and poignant sequel, fans of Danziger and Martin's P.S. Longer Letter Later will know that pen pals Tara*Starr and Elizabeth have entered the 21st century. The best buddies, whose friendship evolved from daily visits to eagerly anticipated missives sent via postal carrier in the first novel, now have traded pencil for mouse. Danziger and Martin make the most of e-mail technology. When Tara*Starr's mother encounters a bumpy point in her pregnancy, readers sense the tension mounting as Elizabeth's barrage of concerned ""instant messages"" goes unanswered; at one point, Tara*Starr even chides Elizabeth that she probably prefers the more deliberate nature of letter-writing to e-mail. With electronic correspondence spanning Elizabeth's summer visit to Tara's new Ohio home, the start of eighth grade, friendships with boys that metamorphose into more and weightier family issues, this book speaks just as authentically to middle graders as the authors' previous title did. The two characters approach life differently enough that there will likely be a response or suggestion that resonates with every reader, and both heroines share one important trait: they are all heart. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)