cover image First a Dream

First a Dream

Maureen Daly. Scholastic, $12.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-590-40846-2

Daly ( Seventeenth Summer ) follows up her recent Acts of Love with a disappointing sequel. Retta Caldwell's family has recently left the Pennsylvania town that has been home to generations of Caldwells, in order to start a small newspaper in California. The pain of the move for Retta is assuaged somewhat by the presence of her boyfriend, Dallas Dobson, who has a summer job training horses at a nearby ranch. Dallas, however, has little free time for Retta, and friction mounts as they confront his prospects for the future--college scholarships and tempting offers of employment. Unfortunately, the excited tones of Daly's early writing yield here to aridity. Retta seems free of teenage confusions and concerns, and the challenges she faces--reporting for the family paper, clarifying her commitment to a relationship--might well be those of someone twice her age. Any attempt at realism is trounced by a completely inauthentic resolution. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)