Linda Holeman. Tundra, $6.95 paper (192p) ISBN 0-88776-493-2

Poppy is a 16-year old with a flair for the dramatic. When her adoptive mother and the woman's boyfriend depart Vancouver for a vacation in Greece, Poppy runs away from the guardian her mother has appointed and imposes herself on her hapless adoptive father and his new family in Winnipeg. Her secret agenda is to track down her birth mother who she believes lives in the Winnipeg area. During one of her many escapes from her father's hippie household (and their attempts to make her eat health food and help around the house), she encounters an eccentric actress, Becca Jell, who fancies herself as a kind of Blanche Dubois. A series of coincidences convince Poppy that she has stumbled onto the secret of her true identity. Some of the dialogue, particularly that of Poppy's parents and stepmother, seem overblown (when Poppy walks in on her stepmother emerging from the shower, the woman says, "I'm celebrating my body. You should, too. Your body is the temple of-" before Poppy slams the door on her). Poppy's internal monologue, however, is authentic, often blending sarcasm and poetry: "The day stretched out in front of me like a prison sentence." Holeman (Mercy's Birds) manages to keep the mystery of Poppy's biological mother involving while maintaining a focus on the protagonist's personal growth. Ages 11-up. (Nov.)