cover image D, My Name Is Danita

D, My Name Is Danita

Norma Fox Mazer. Scholastic, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-590-43655-7

Danita Merritt, 14, has the perfect family--at least her best friend, Laredo, thinks so. Mr. and Mrs. Merritt adore each other and dote on their two daughters, while Laredo rarely sees her divorced father. The picture changes when Danita meets the ubiquitous D.T. Goodman. The 19-year-old Californian is in town to locate his father, who is unaware of his existence. D.T. ultimately tells a shocked Danita that he is her half-brother, the offspring of Mr. Merritt's teenage romance with a schoolmate who chose to move west rather than disclose her pregnancy. Danita's first-person narrative reveals all the anguish and turmoil expected of someone in her situation, which she handles with remarkable maturity. Mazer's skilled writing allows her main character to be perceived in very human terms. Although the dialogue is syrupy at times, the compassion evoked for the offspring of unhappy alliances gives the novel considerable impact. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)