cover image Bright Days, Stupid Nights

Bright Days, Stupid Nights

Norma Fox Mazer, Harry Mazer. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $16 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-08126-8

This snappily paced tale follows four teens from disparate circumstances through their summer internship at a small-town newspaper. In focusing alternately on driven, ambitious Vicki and good-humored, macho Chris, the Mazers ( Heartbeat ; The Solid Gold Kid ) round out their engrossing narrative with male and female points of view. Perspicacity artfully blends with comedy: readers can empathize with the emotions of interns Vicki, Chris, Elizabeth and Faith while laughing at Chris's hilariously awful fiction or Elizabeth's self-obsessed monologues. The novel shifts from being a cozy romance to a tension-filled drama when Vicki's decision to write an article exposing Faith's famous parentage sets her at odds with her peers, who wind up taking surprisingly extreme steps to stop her. While their writing is never preachy, the Mazers provide much food for thought on such pertinent issues as journalistic integrity and freedom of the press versus an individual's right to privacy. Ages 12-up. (Aug.)