cover image Do Over

Do Over

Rachel Vail, R. Vail. Scholastic, $15.95 (143pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05460-4

The star of this fresh and appealing slice of junior high school life, eighth grader Whitman Levy, appeared briefIy in Vail's first book, Wonder. Here Whit must work through some of life's thornier issues--including his parent's separation and the discovery that his best friend is a bigot. A brief and rather superficial romance with popular Sheila leaves Whit prepared for a real relationship--one based on friendship as well as attraction. That Whit's life is complicated no one will deny, but the breezy narrative, combined with large doses of authentic preteen jocularity, deftly keeps this material from devolving into a whiny problem novel. The honest language never seems out of place coming from an eighth grader--yet it is powerful enough to create a world as richly textured as it is believable. One measure of the success of Vail's well-characterized novel: readers can sense that life goes on here even after the book is closed. Ages 11-up. (Sept.)