cover image Last One Home

Last One Home

Mary Pope Osborne, Osborne. Dial Books, $13.95 (148pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0219-6

Readers will take the narrator of Osborne's fourth novel to their hearts as they laugh and cry at the predicaments she relates. Bailey Evans, 12, can't bear moving into ""snappy'' Janet's house with her father when he marries the woman, long after his divorce from Bailey's alcoholic mother. Adding to the girl's sorrow, her beloved brother Claude breaks up with his faithless lover Marlene and plans to join the army. Desperate to keep her father and brother at home, Bailey causes trouble, scheming to reunite Claude and Marlene and fighting with Janet's little sons. When she fails, Bailey leaves to live with her mother and it's the despised Janet who gives the rebel needed comfort as well as a promise of security. All the characters, including the heedless mother whose abuses Bailey forgets in her wistful dreams, are skillfully humanized by the sensitive author of Run, Run, As Fast As You Can et al. (12-up)