cover image Family of Strangers

Family of Strangers

Susan Beth Pfeffer. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $16 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-08364-4

If asked to describe herself, Abby Talbott would answer ``inoffensive.'' In a tension-filled family of overachievers on one hand and a drug-addicted dropout sister on the other, Abby maintains a neutral invisibility. Her only friend is an invented pen pal, and she endures almost unbearable pressure from her father to get into a good college. Driven by intense loneliness and the belief that she is unloved, Abby tries to take her own life. Taut and unflinching observations on the mechanics of a dysfunctional family are poignantly expressed through the writings of a bereft and misunderstood teenager. Abby's wounds and defenses are heartbreakingly real, as are the embittered family dialogues of total non-communication. Perceptive and affecting, this story of a young woman's crisis and eventual recovery has a cathartic impact. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)