cover image The Jellyfish Season

The Jellyfish Season

Mary Downing Hahn. Clarion Books, $13.95 (182pp) ISBN 978-0-89919-344-1

The Sara Summer and Hahn's other books are admired as meaty, well-told stories about adolescents facing problems. Her latest is another such, narrated by 12-year-old Kathleen Foster. With her mother and three younger sisters, Kathleen has to move from home to Baltimore to stay with relatives on Chesapeake Bay, while Mr. Foster stays behind to look for work. Kathleen and her fierce sister Patsy, 10, get into trouble, mostly because their cousin Fay, an aspiring sexpot, resents the Foster children as guests in her home. Hanging more heavily on Kathleen's mind are the implications of her parents' separation. She worries about her mother when she overhears discussions between her aunt and Mrs. Foster. The story's events are many and engrossing, but it slips at the confrontation when Kathleen expresses her thoughts to her mother in words too adult for belief. The novel is, nonetheless, a memorable portrayal of ills caused by unemployment. (1014)