cover image Count Me in

Count Me in

Christine McDonnell. Viking Children's Books, $11.95 (173pp) ISBN 978-0-670-80417-7

A sensitive, satisfying story of a young girl's struggle to accept change within her family and herself the summer after her eighth-grade graduation. Katie has been feeling closed-out after her mother's remarriage to Steve. Then the two announce that they're having a baby, and Steve goes around the house singing, ""And baby makes three.'' Katie's best friend only talks about boys. Katie fantasizes that she could move in with her father, but then discovers he has a girlfriend. By the time Katie joins her grandmother for her annual vacation at the beach, she's sure she's been pushed out by everyone. Her grandmother's a good listener, though, and Katie meets a boy, and by the time the baby comes, she's decided that a family is what you make of it. McDonnell handles a familiar subject well, with characters real enough to make the point. (11-14)