cover image Where It Stops, Nobody Knows

Where It Stops, Nobody Knows

Amy Ehrlich. Dial Books, $14.95 (212pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0575-3

Ehrlich, who has retold many popular stories and fairy tales, has written her first novel, a strong, passionate story of a teenager's search for identity. Nina's life with her mother, Joyce, is a vagabond existence; they travel cross-country in their van with all their possessions, stopping in one town for six months, in the next one for a year. When they settle in Montpelier, Vt. Joyce easily finds a job and an apartment, and enrolls Nina in eighth grade. Nina has never questioned her mother's way of life, but conflicts begin to ariseshe finds a boyfriend and then companionship on the basketball teambut Joyce forbids her to travel with the team. When Nina protests, Joyce makes them leave town again. In the new town, Nina begins to see patterns: she is allowed no social life at all, and when the authorities show concern, Joyce moves them again, this time to Venice, Calif. Joyce's stories begin to unravel, and when Nina discovers the truth about her mother, it is devastating. Ehrlich has taken a small news item and turned it into realistic suspense, with an underlying theme of a teenager's quest for identity. A provocative, compelling, and ultimately satisfying read. Ages 11-up. (Oct.)