cover image ONLY THE LONELY


Laura Dower, ONLY THE LONELYLaura Dower

The chatty debut installment of the From the Files of Madison Finn series introduces a high-strung and contemplative heroine who pronounces herself "allergic" to change. The summer before seventh grade, Madison is still reeling from her parents' divorce a year earlier. With her two best pals, Aimee and Egg, away at camp, she feels bored and lonely—not to mention anxious about the impending start of junior high. When she becomes friends with a new girl in her neighborhood, Madison worries about juggling this relationship with her tried-and-true friendships, then agonizes about whether she still has as much in common with Aimee and Egg as before. The novel's title refers to one of the files that Madison keeps on her beloved laptop, on which she records her feelings, fears and fixations. The computer also gives rise to e-mails and chat room dialogue, faithfully recorded here ("evry one is @ a party except 4 me"), which supplement the often long-winded narrative ("Madison went into her super-special computer files. She accessed the files with a specially selected, super-special password which was so super-special that even she forgot it sometimes"). The issues are real enough and credibly handled, so that readers who identify with Madison's angst may well want to reach for the series' second book, Boy, Oh Boy!, due out the same month. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)