cover image The Lovely Shoes

The Lovely Shoes

Susan Shreve. Scholastic/Levine, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-439-68049-3

Set in the Eisenhower era, Shreve's (Kiss Me Tomorrow) partially autobiographical novel stars ninth-grader Franny, a Midwestern girl with two "damaged" feet and a "skinny little stick of flesh and bone that was her left leg." Self-conscious about her birth defect and the orthopedic shoes that she thinks make her look "stupid," Franny is convinced she'll never have a normal social life, especially after her first attempt to wear regular shoes at a school dance leads to disaster. Then Franny's mother comes up with a brilliant plan: to write a letter to Italian shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo to ask if he can make Franny a special pair of shoes. Shortly thereafter, Franny is whisked away on a whirlwind, life-changing trip to Florence, where she meets Ferragamo and enjoys her first romance, returning home with rekindled hope and dreams of new possibilities. Celebrating the rewards of determination and a positive attitude, this atmospheric novel credibly depicts Franny's internal growth and changing attitude. The contrast between smalltown Ohio and splendorous Florence provides an intriguing framework for the book's classic themes. Ages 9%E2%80%9312. (June)