cover image Send No Blessings

Send No Blessings

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Atheneum Books, $16 (231pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31582-4

This rambling novel contains an odd mixture of trite and poignant elements. Though the plot manages to incorporate nearly every cliche of the rural coming-of-age story, the result is surprisingly endearing. Moving at an unhurried pace, Naylor's tale will leave persevering readers with a distinct picture of a busy and momentous year in the heroine's life. Between looking after her seven brothers and sisters and working part-time, Beth, 15, has plenty to keep her occupied. At school, she is the star of her typing class, a skill that could provide a way out of her family's cramped trailer, even out of West Virginia itself. But then there's Harless, Beth's 22-year-old boyfriend, who wants to marry her and start a family; even Beth's harshly critical father approves of this relationship. After considerable soul-searching and hard work, Beth sets a course that is right for her--and discovers, along the way, the true reasons for her father's nastiness. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)