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Babyface Paperback – August 1, 1991

4.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Paperback, August 1, 1991
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Toni Chessmore has always felt lucky; she could not have asked for more perfect parents or for a better friend than Julie Jensen, her next-door neighbor. But during her 14th summer, Toni's opinion of herself and others begins to change after her father's near-fatal heart attack. Toni is sent to stay with her older sister in New York, where she learns shocking secrets about her parents' past and recognizes that they have been living a lie that began before she was born. Feeling hurt and deceived, Toni has trouble dealing with her parents after returning home. To make matters worse, an argument with Julie results in the girls' not speaking. Only when Toni deals openly and honestly with her resentments can she start to accept and forgive. Although she seems a bit two-dimensional at the onset of the novel, Toni's inner growth and increasing awareness--as well as her disillusionment--are realistically portrayed. Mazer ( After the Rain ; Silver ) offers a thorough, sensitive exploration of parent/teen relationships as she reveals how a sheltered girl discovers that the people she loves are neither perfect nor infallible. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A wise, thought-provoking novel" -- -- Kirkus

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 560L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTrophy; Reprint edition (August 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380757206
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380757206
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.4 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,785,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

NORMA FOX MAZER is the award-winning author of many novels for young people. She has been honored with the Christopher Award, a Newbery Honor, the Edgar Allen Poe Award, and a National Book Award nomination. She and her husband, novelist Harry Mazer, divide their time between Jamesville, New York, and New York City.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
At 14, Toni Chessmore considers herself pretty lucky. Dubbing it "Toni Luck," she's always had a great life: two parents that dote upon her, best friend Julie living right next door. Her days are even filled with tiny bits of luck, such as finding money on the ground and being coincidentally at the right place to land a good summer job.

Although she tries not to, Toni can't help but feel a bit superior to others. Julie, for example, has always had such a miserable family life. Even Toni's much-older sister Martine seems so unhappy. Is it Toni's fault that she can't really relate?

Then Toni's father suffers a heart attack, and everything changes. While her parents attend a healthy-living workshop in another state, Toni goes to stay with Martine, the sister who left home when she was just a baby. It's then that Toni begins to learn the reasons for Martine's coldness, reasons she herself could never have begun to suspect.

When the truth comes out, is Toni really any better off than Julie? Is it better to know or not to know?
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Format: Paperback
Fourteen-year-old Toni Chessmore lives in the small town of Ridgewood with her parents, Harold and Violet, and cat Paws, next door to her best friend Julie Jenson whose parents are Steve and Jerrine and whose younger sister is Heather. Toni has always felt that her life has been lucky with perfect parents and the best friend possible. However, her luck begins to change the summer following her fifteenth birthday. Julie’s parents, who have always fought, talk about separating. Steve goes off on a motorcycle trip to Alaska, and Jerrine takes Julie and Heather to spend the whole summer with Julie’s Aunt Wendy in California. Then Toni’s father suffers a near-fatal heart attack and must go away for rehab, so Toni is sent to New York City to stay with her older sister by fifteen years, Martine, who has always seemed so cold and indifferent.

While Toni is there, Martine reveals a devastating secret about her parents’ past, and Toni, disillusioned, decides that the whole family has been living a lie that began before she was born. What is this shocking secret? How will it affect Toni and her relationship to her parents? And what will she do about it? Several references to smoking occur. Of course, smoking is an important factor in Harold’s heart attack, but Julie also takes it up supposedly in preparation for becoming an actress. Some typical public school boy-girl activities are mentioned, such as being in love and kissing, as Toni and Julie seem to vie for affection from the same boy, L. R. Faberman. There is actually a good story here that illustrates how to deal, or not deal as the case may be, with family skeletons in the closet, and with changes in friendships.
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Format: Paperback
I would recommend this book to anyone who's going through a rough time with her parents being divorced or anyone who is interested in friendships. Julie, Toni's best friend, has a rough life with her parents being divorced; they argue all the time and Julie gets sick of it. For example, Julie went to Toni's house one night because her parents got into a huge argument. " They're at it again, Toni, I can't take it anymore!" Says Julie. Toni was very understanding. This book is very enjoying and I loved reading it. I honestly do not like to read, but this book caught my attention right away. As soon as I read the first two chapters I was already enjoying the book. So if you enjoy reading about friendships and your parents are divorced and you are having a rough time with them I encourage you to read this book!
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Format: Paperback
Fifteen year old Toni Chessmore has it all, a family that loves her, a best friend who lives right next door, but nothing in life is perfect right? Her best friend has to go to California for summer due to some sad circumstances, Toni falls for the boy that her best friend was crushing on, and finds out a family secret that has been buried for years.

This book was very short, in fact it's under 200 pages. I feel like maybe if I read this book when I was younger like 12-13 I probably would have enjoyed it more, but because of the fact that i've read so many more complex novels before this one, it feel short for me. Norma Fox Mazer was a favorite author of mine growing up and After The Rain, is one of those books that stick out in my mind that made me fall in love with reading from the beginning, and It won a number of awards to boot.

I think the younger audience would really enjoy this book, it's a light-hearted, summer read, that deals with issues that probably anyone could be able to relate too or have been through similar situations when they were younger. Norma Fox Mazer will continue to be an author I check out but this book was a little too basic and lacked complexity that i'm used too.
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Format: Paperback
Fourteen-year-old Toni Chessmore thinks her life is just about perfect. Her parents dote on her, and she has a fantastic relationship with her best friend, Julie. In fact, Toni's house is Julie's refuge when her parents' arguing gets out of control. When Julie's mother takes her away for the summer, Toni can't imagine things getting any worse. Then her father has a heart attack, and while her mother helps him through a recovery program, Toni goes to stay with her much older sister Martine, a near-stranger with a brusque manner. One night, Martine tells Toni a secret about their oh-so-happy family . . . and Toni knows right away that nothing will ever be the same again.

This is a wise, nuanced little novel, full of richly drawn characters and deeply revealing subplots. Mazer handles Toni's transition from sheltered little girl to sensitive and aware young woman with grace and skill. Toni is a thoroughly likable and believable character, and her turmoil is genuine and poignant.

I will admit I didn't entirely understand why the secret Toni learned was such a big deal, but then again, she's more the protected innocent at the age of fourteen than I was at four. It's not the secret itself that makes such a difference in Toni's life as the understanding that some aspects of her "perfect" life are not what she thought they were. More problematic for me was the ending, which is hopeful, but rather too pat: all of a sudden in the last chapter everything works out all at once. Had the same resolution been brought about more gradually, it would have been much more believable and satisfying. That said, however, this is an enjoyable and mature novel that should have great appeal to young readers.
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