cover image More Than Meets the Eye

More Than Meets the Eye

Jeanne Betancourt. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-05871-0

Pretty Liz Gaynor, 15, is delighted that her friendship with fellow classmate Ben Lee has taken a romantic turn. Liz's parents, however, are concerned--not only because Ben is Chinese, he's also Liz's main competitor for a scholarship. Such narrow thinking offends Liz, as do the attentions of Brad, a lackadaisical student and troublemaker who appeases his unrequited affection by throwing racial slurs at Ben. Liz eventually realizes that Ben lies to his parents to socialize with her; Mrs. Lee wants Ben to postpone dating until he's ready for marriage--to a Chinese woman only. In her latest YA offering, Betancourt addresses prejudice, interracial dating, cultural differences and the horrors of Cambodia (remembered by Dary, Liz's tutorial charge). The issues are adroitly interwoven, but too much ground is covered, which blurs the story's focus. Moreover, excessive rehashing results in a sluggish pace. The abrupt character shifts in the narrative's point of view hurt the work as well. Ages 12-up. (June)