cover image Babyface


Norma Fox Mazer. Morrow Junior Books, $16 (165pp) ISBN 978-0-688-08752-4

Toni Chessmore has always felt lucky; she could not have asked for more perfect parents or for a better friend than Julie Jensen, her next-door neighbor. But during her 14th summer, Toni's opinion of herself and others begins to change after her father's near-fatal heart attack. Toni is sent to stay with her older sister in New York, where she learns shocking secrets about her parents' past and recognizes that they have been living a lie that began before she was born. Feeling hurt and deceived, Toni has trouble dealing with her parents after returning home. To make matters worse, an argument with Julie results in the girls' not speaking. Only when Toni deals openly and honestly with her resentments can she start to accept and forgive. Although she seems a bit two-dimensional at the onset of the novel, Toni's inner growth and increasing awareness--as well as her disillusionment--are realistically portrayed. Mazer ( After the Rain ; Silver ) offers a thorough, sensitive exploration of parent/teen relationships as she reveals how a sheltered girl discovers that the people she loves are neither perfect nor infallible. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)