cover image December Stillness

December Stillness

Mary Downing Hahn. Clarion Books, $14.95 (181pp) ISBN 978-0-89919-758-6

A serious, troubling study of teenage rebellion and idealism is combined with a story about the harsh realities of the lives of the homeless and the legacy of the Vietnam War. Kelly finds herself at odds with everyone: her best friend has turned into a giggling shopper; Keith ``can't'' be her friend anymore because he's male; she is ashamed of her mother's career as a greeting card artist; and she's estranged from her combative lawyer father. Kelly wants to be a real artist and go to art school, but she won't even graduate from high school unless she completes a social studies paper. After seeing Mr. Weems, a strange bagman in the library, Kelly decides to tackle the issue of the homeless by interviewing him. Her growing obsession with him leads her straight into her father's own unacknowledged despair over his experience in Vietnam; Mr. Weems is also a veteran. And while Kelly learns that good intentions don't always change things for the better, she also contributes to the healing of both her father and herself in a sensitively rendered final scene at the Vietnam War Memorial. From the author of Daphne's Song and Tallahassee Higgins , among other titles, comes another fine novela realistic look at the ongoing pain in the aftermath of war. Ages 10-14. (September)