cover image Dark Silence

Dark Silence

Maureen Wartski. Fawcett Books, $5.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-449-70418-9

Randy, 15, lives in a small Massachusetts town with her father and new stepmother, whom she privately dubs ``the Snow Queen.'' Her devastation at her mother's accidental death a year ago hasn't subsided, and moving to a house devoid of sweet memories adds to her despondency. But upon meeting her new neighbor, shy Delia Abbot, Randy becomes less self-absorbed, especially after spotting the girl's concealed bruises. Randy soon concludes that Delia is abused. She wants to help, but finds the situation difficult--and dangerous--to rectify alone. Wartski ( Belonging ) takes a while to get started, but her first-person narration and dialogue are consistently on-target (``The moment, delicate as a soap bubble, broke apart as Dad turned to his new wife''). As for Wartski's plot, children like Delia can sadly attest to its veracity. Ages 10-14. (Feb.)