From Publishers Weekly
Neither Southern California brats nor ornery hicks escape the malice of this rather mean-hearted slapstick novel. When Buffie Babcock's TV producer father goes broke, he and his family say "good-bye to all we knew and the total California experience" and hightail it to Hickory Fork, where Mr. Babcock grew up. Smack-dab in an unenlightened (and unnamed) part of Middle America, this formerly bucolic hamlet is now in the thrall of a thuggish group of high school students. Outraged, Buffie's older sister Bambi--a quintessential Valley Girl with eternally perfect hair--takes charge. In a convoluted plot (involving a ghost story, a fixed football game and a brand-new TV pilot directed by Buffie's father) justice is restored, the local economy receives a much-needed boost and Mr. Babcock makes enough money to buy a Range Rover and return his kids to their rightful home. Even at its most snide ("After Pinetree Trace, which they hated the most, the football team would be playing Toad Suck, Oil Trough, Possum Trot, Natural Steps, Viny Grove, and Booger Holler"), the narrative manages to be snappy, moving at a rackety gallop. But it's slick and compassionless, comparing poorly with such Peck titles as Unfinished Portrait of Jessica . Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
A merry spoof of everything from L.A. and TV pilots to beauty salons: Buffie explains how she and the rest of the Babcock family find themselves run out of Hollywood and on their way to the place that has inspired their father's increasingly alarming bouts of nostalgia--his hometown, where his fond memories and the bombed-out look of Hickory Fork don't mesh. Citizens are fearful of a teenage gang (``the Mall Rats'') that's trashed the local shopping center, runs the school, and regularly shakes down other students. Buffie's older sister Bambi, not impressed, seeks to strip the M.R.'s of their status. The Babcocks put on a show worthy of Andy Hardy, get Hickory Fork back on the straight and narrow, then return to the top of the TV heap. Meeting characters with names like Tanya Hyde and Bob Wire, readers won't mistake Peck's pack for one where realism reigns. A honey of a funny ride through small-town America gone horribly awry, in a place where family values means Grandma totes a shotgun in the name of a good night's sleep. The sendup of Tinseltown is just as comic; the whole story's a tonic. (Fiction. 12+) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.