cover image Red Rover, Red Rover

Red Rover, Red Rover

George Ella Lyon. Orchard Books (NY), $12.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05832-9

Set in the early '60s, this tender novel examines the pain of growing up through a girl's sense of loss. The death of Grandfather Gene marks the first disruption of Sumi Kell's 11th year. The second occurs when Drake, her older brother, leaves home to attend private school. After his departure, the house seems empty, adults act preoccupied, and Sumi feels distanced from other girls in her class who have taken a sudden interest in clothes and boys. When best friend Keezie moves away, Sumi is devastated. She tries to fit in at school by emulating the manners of a popular, young teacher, but her efforts prove futile. No single event dispels Sumi's feelings of isolation; gradually she comes to accept her altered world and view it from a new perspective. Through beautiful prose and sharp imagery, Lyon crystallizes the significant moments in this child's life. First-person narration allows readers to become intimately involved with Sumi's emotional struggles; those who enjoy a quiet, reflective read will cherish this sensitive book. Ages 11-14. (Sept.)