The soft lapping sound of a swimming pool and the lifeless smell of chlorinated water pervade this novel about a competitive high diver who struggles through her terrible fear of returning to the platform after hitting her head in a diving accident. Bonnie Chamberlain, almost 17, faces an even bigger challenge when her lawyer father is brought to trial and convicted of defrauding his clients. After he pleads guilty and she finds that her mother, too, is implicated, Bonnie uses the determination that took her back up the diving ladder to take charge of her own life--and to accept her parents as they are. Michael Cadnum's oblique, hard-edged style is perfectly suited to this story set in the upper-middle-class milieu of Northern California, where pleasant, witty remarks are stand-ins for communicating real feelings. Cadnum is master of the revealing detail: Bonnie's boyfriend, Rowan, "wants to concentrate on acoustical physics," her stepmother, in "a sherbet outfit thing," looks like "someone auditioning for hostess at a pancake restaurant," and the courthouse has floors the color of goose-liver pâté. Here, tangible ambience is as important as plot. Thoughtful readers will find Heat
less dark than, but equally engrossing as, Cadnum's Calling Home
, and Breaking the Fall
. (Ages 14 and older) --Patty Campbell
From Publishers Weekly
Cadnum's latest may not have as much heart-pounding action as some of his previous thrillers (Zero at the Bone; Taking It), but there is plenty of tension. As the story opens, narrator Bonnie Chamberlain, a diver, has just regained consciousness following an accident in the pool at her fancy private school. Bonnie, who has started to entertain dreams about the Olympics, is left with a concussion and serious doubts about future competition. As she fights anxieties about rejoining the team and possibly reinjuring herself, she is hit with a second whammy: her father, a prominent attorney recently remarried to his secretary, is arrested for defrauding clients. While the meshing of two heavyweight traumas is slightly awkward, other aspects of the plot?particularly the change in Bonnie's belief in her father's innocence to her knowledge of his guilt?are compelling. Adopting the laconic style that gives so much of his writing its tough edge and adult flavor, Cadnum challenges readers with hard questions about the nature of fear and of betrayal. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.