cover image Seventeen Against the Dealer

Seventeen Against the Dealer

Cynthia Voigt. Atheneum Books, $18 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31497-1

Dicey Tillerman, out of school and assuredly launching her own boat-building business, seems ready to face anything that comes her way. But the obstacles she faces so thoroughly immerse her in the work that she loses sight of other facets of her life and neglects her grandmother (who is ill), her boyfriend Jeff and the other Tillermans--Maybeth, James and Sammy--who are struggling with their own lives. Further, Dicey overlooks key details of running a business (having an insurance policy, understanding obligations to her potential clients) that seem minor at first, but effectively force her to close shop. She stacks the odds against herself, and must admit that she doesn't always have the answers. The last book in the Tillerman family cycle will work its way into readers' sensibilities like the roots of a long-nurtured plant that suddenly blooms; this novel is the sum of all those that have preceded it--just as quietly powerful, just as beautifully paced. That Dicey so believably paints herself into a corner and comes to terms with her own limitations in such a breathtakingly short period of time--over such ordinary events--makes this one of the season's truly accomplished novels. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)