cover image Memory


Margaret Mahy. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $16 (278pp) ISBN 978-0-689-50446-4

Sometimes Jonny, 19, feels that the memory of his sister Janine's death five years before will always be more real to him than anything in his own life. One night, he sets out on a drunken midnight search for Bonny, his sister's best friend. His quest leads him to his old neighborhood, where he meets Sophie West, an old woman. Sophie has Alzheimer's disease, and in her confusion believes that Jonny is the cousin she once loved. Jonny, in need of a place to spend the night, goes home with Sophie. The next day, Jonny's concern for Sophie keeps him from leaving her alone. While cleaning Sophie's cluttered house, Jonny discovers that she has been paying nearly daily ""rent'' to a local thug. Jonny must therefore stay with her in order to stop this extortion. Through his involvement in the old woman's life, Jonny finds the strength to settle old scores, vanquish long-hidden fears and revive his most secret hopes. While some readers may miss the cozy familial banter found in Mahy's earlier books, the well-thought-out characters and intricately structured plot are profoundly satisfying. Mahy's metaphors simultaneously further the plot and charm the reader. Ages 14-up. (April)