cover image Wild Iris Bloom

Wild Iris Bloom

Mavis Jukes. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $14 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-679-81891-5

While her parents are ``gallivanting around Europe'' for six weeks in the fall, Iris is stuck at home with Mrs. Fuller, the dorky housekeeper. Left to her own devices, the irrepressible 12-year-old lets her room turn into a disaster area, indulges in several shopping sprees and struggles to make her mark in junior high. Although rattlesnake-skin sneakers fail to impress the kids at school, Iris's ingenious scheme to get even with obnoxious Corky Newton does stir up some excitement. This second volume of Iris Bloom's outrageous antics offers snappy dialogue and a cast of memorable characters. With exemplary skill, Jukes ( Getting Even ; Like Jake and Me ) sustains a light tone in her writing while acknowledging the seriousness of preteen concerns. In particular, a scene depicting Iris's close call with a flirtatious older stranger is handled extremely well. The heroine's feelings of embarrassment and guilt are genuine and satisfactorily resolved when sympathetic adults remind her--and readers--that aggressors, not victims, are the ones who should feel shame. Ages 10-14. (Apr.)