From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7. This breezy, lighthearted romp is "Auntie Mame" recast in a children's book. Thirteen-year-old Connie's annual trek from Queens to Manhattan for her birthday-tea celebration with her eccentric and wealthy Great-Aunt Cornelia, for whom she's named, is the beginning of a summer that opens a closet of family secrets. As her great-aunt acculturates Connie to Manhattan's wonderful art scenes, the lively plot elements include a Russian wolfhound named Rasputin, two teen geniuses, the modern-art world, dancing skills, Connie's sister Eleanor (a psychic hotline addict), and inheritance money. A party for Connie culminates in a showdown of characters and events where Eleanor's persistence at untangling a genealogical mystery uproots the real family tree. Interspersed are barbs at NYC snobberies (e.g., New Jersey and Queens are the same; all New Yorkers wear black) and references to famous sites. A "quirky" family farce with comedy, romance, intrigue, and self-realization that's ripe for a movie script.?Julie Cummins, New York Public Library
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 5-8. Thirteen-year-old Connie is named for Great-Aunt Cornelia, one of the richest women in the world. When Great-Aunt Cornelia suggests that Connie forsake her native Queens for a few weeks in Manhattan, everyone agrees, even Connie's parents, who have an odd relationship with Great-Aunt Cornelia. Once ensconced in her great-aunt's townhouse, Connie is treated to all kinds of luxuries; meets a high-IQ, high-maintenance friend; and finally learns the secret about her family that everyone has been trying to hide. The secret--that Great-Aunt Cornelia is really the mother of Connie's father--would have been better integrated in the story if indications of it had come up earlier. In any case, plot isn't the strong suit here; it's Quirk's over-the-top characters: Connie's TV-addicted sister, her avant-garde young suitor, and, of course, Great-Aunt Cornelia (later Grandmother), who is big and bossy and eccentric in the way only the very wealthy ever are. Amusing, off-beat fare. Ilene Cooper