cover image Crack in the Heart

Crack in the Heart

Doris Orgel. Fawcett Books, $2.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-449-70204-8

After her father's death, Zanna moves to New York City with her mother. There, Zanna slowly comes to terms with the loss of her father. A brief but vivid involvement with a glamorous older boy adds spice to Zanna's life. Unfortunately, the author was apparently not satisfied with creating a moving chronicle of the grieving process, and chose to tackle an additional, more fashionable issue: drug abuse. Grafted onto the main body of the novel and impossible to ignore, this unwieldy subplot drains the life and believability from the novel. The real story, Zanna's delicately constructed predicament, is lost in a tangled thicket of just-say-no hysteria. What's more, the inaccurate descriptions of intoxication and drug use detract from the author's authority and may alienate even the most naive teen readers. A disappointing effort from an author whose excellent earlier novels ( The Devil in Vienna and Risking Love ) have led her audience to expect much more. Ages 12-up. (Dec.)