cover image Annie's Promise

Annie's Promise

Sonia Levitin. Atheneum Books, $15 (186pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31752-1

Levitin concludes her series about the Platt family, German Jewish refugees, with this solidly crafted novel, as inviting as its predecessors, Journey to America and Silver Days . Here Annie, the youngest child, tells the story (middle sister Lisa narrated the earlier books), and it's a measure of Levitin's uncommonly asssured voice that she inhabits Annie's character as densely and as authentically as Lisa's. As the novel opens, the Allies have just achieved victory in Europe; in California, however, Annie is just beginning adolescent skirmishes with the strict, Old World ways of her parents. She gets invited to a summer camp that, although run by Quakers, is interdenominational; there she makes friends (and an enemy), learns to ride a horse, develops a crush on a counselor and gets a painful lesson in loving one's neighbor. The plot becomes somewhat diffuse after Annie returns home and battles with her parents, but Levitin's strong, unusually likable characters and her book's pervasive atmosphere easily fuel the narrative. A graceful farewell to a memorable fictional family. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)