cover image Amy Dunn Quits School

Amy Dunn Quits School

Susan Shreve. Tambourine Books, $13 (96pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10320-0

Shreve ( The Flunking of Joshua T. Bates ) chronicles the day-long rebellion of an 11-year-old protagonist, who, through her mother's pressures, has always seemed perfect: she gets A's in school, plays on the soccer team, and takes ballet, acting and piano lessons--even though, we soon learn, she hates them all. On Halloween, Amy ``resigns from the world'' to avoid having to wear the Halloween costume her mother made for her in the school parade; none of the kids Amy's age are going in costume. In this tenderly told story of a girl's loving yet guilt-ridden relationship with her single mother, Shreve portrays a familiar and believable psychological situation: each character is scared of hurting the other's feelings with an admission of their differences. While some readers will find the ending pat (``You have been too good for too long,'' Amy's mother says; ``And you have been trying so hard to do the best thing,'' says Amy), many, especially girls, will appreciate the realistic, indirect form Amy's rebellion against her mother takes. Actual spots in New York City, such as Washington Square Park and the Upper West Side, form a distinctive narrative backdrop. Ages 8-up. (Oct.)