cover image Ring of Truth

Ring of Truth

Susan Beth Pfeffer. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-09224-0

Though it doesn't equal her The Year Without Michael , Pfeffer's latest novel has intrigue and drama aplenty to pique readers' interest. The story tackles a timely topic: sexual harassment. The state's lieutenant governor makes a pass at 16-year-old Sloan Fredericks during a party given by her politically and socially well-connected grandmother, with whom the orphaned girl lives. Disgusted, Sloan escapes from him, but not before their lips have touched--and someone has witnessed the encounter. The news shows up in a gossip column the next day, along with the erroneous statement that Sloan and the politician had a ``meaningful fling'' the summer before. When Sloan's best friend says it was she who had the alleged affair, a brouhaha erupts involving the press, government and school officials. Above all, the incident prompts Sloan to search for missing pieces about her past, and to become a more responsive and independent individual. Despite the soap-opera quality of some scenes, Pfeffer has created true-to-life characters and a skillfully spun plot with several unexpected tangles. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)