cover image Tallahassee Higgins

Tallahassee Higgins

Mary Downing Hahn. Clarion Books, $13.95 (180pp) ISBN 978-0-89919-495-0

Tallahassee, named for the city in which she was born, says goodbye to her mother Liz, and Liz's latest boyfriend, at the airport. Talley, 12, is being sent to Maryland to stay with an aunt and uncle she's never met, while her freewheeling mom takes off for Hollywood to try her hand at a film career. Talley attempts to settle into her new life in the same house in which Liz grew up, but it isn't easy. Her aunt is strict and resentful, and Talley misses her mother; but she begins to piece together the story of Liz's life, with unsettling results. Hahn has woven Tallahassee's tale so skillfully that readers will accept the fact that Talley's mother is not going to come back for her. On a par with the author's highly acclaimed Daphne's Book, this story is marred only by the aunt's unrealistic harshness, and her sudden change of heart at the end of the book seems unfounded. Still, the story is memorable and heart-wrenching. (10-14) (March)