cover image Operation Homefront

Operation Homefront

Caroline B. Cooney. Starfire, $3.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-29685-3

Laura Herrick and her brothers Nicholas and Langan are unprepared for the very texture of their lives to change when their mother--a member of the National Guard--is sent to Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Shield. While Mrs. Herrick is away the children experience a complicated, often contradictory assortment of emotions: they are proud of their mother, fearful for her safety and resentful of both her absence and the new responsibilities they must shoulder at home. To make matters even more confusing, neither Laura nor Langan can help but revel in their enhanced prestige at their high schools. As usual, Cooney's writing is smooth and efficient. Though the Herrick family is hardly full of surprises, they are believable enough, and their predicament--a father left home to mind his family while his wife wages war--is certainly of interest. Yet, promising as these elements are, they never quite coalesce into a gripping story. Instead, the novel possesses a scattered quality that makes for slow going. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)