RAZZLE

Ellen Wittlinger, Author . S&S $17 (256p) ISBN 978-0-689-83565-0

When his parents retire, Kenyon, the 15-year-old narrator of Wittlinger's (Hard Love) uneven new book, begrudgingly moves with them from Boston to the Cape Cod beach community, where they plan to renovate and run a cottage colony for tourists. He meets eccentric (and equally lonely) Razzle at the Truro town dump where she works. While their relationship develops smoothly and realistically, other characters and plot points come off as flat. As Ken gets more involved in Razzle's chaotic life, she teaches him not to be a "perwin" ("person without imagination")—and instead to be someone visible. He also learns—though a little late—the value of loyalty. Some of the plotting is spot on (for example, when Ken, a budding photographer, is manipulated by a loose local knockout to showcase cheesy photos of her along with his soulful shots of Razzle at the end-of-the-summer art show). Readers will also relate to the strained relationship he has with his parents, especially his mother who raised him on "automatic pilot." Other points are less successful, such as Razzle's alcoholic mother's dramatic confession about what happened to the father of her children, and a few supporting characters, including a gay plumber and an old artist who stays at the cottages, seem too scripted. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/17/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-689-85600-6
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4391-1633-3
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