In Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary
, Pamela Dean explores the life of 15-year-old Gentian (the middle of the three titular sisters)--the homework, the Halloween parties with her best friends, the spats with elder sister Juniper. Gentian is a student at an "open" high school, and her telescope and astronomical observations are her paramount interests. Then her well-ordered days are disturbed by traces of a mystery. A house suddenly appears next door, complete with a darkly handsome boy who speaks only in quotations. Is he interested in Gentian, or Juniper, or even Rosemary? The final conflict of the book involves a time machine in the attic and unfurls with a hallucinogenic intensity. In her first series, which started with Secret Country
, Dean depicted an absorbing fantasy world with an old-fashioned flavor. Here, she shows herself to be a careful, highly controlled writer with a thorough knowledge of the heart of a gifted teenager. --Blaise Selby
From Publishers Weekly
Retelling traditional Scottish ballads (as she does here and did in Tam Lin), Minneapolis-based contemporary fantasist Dean can spin a wicked little spell. Her latest novel starts gently, as an odd new family suddenly builds a tacky red vinyl-sided ranch house next to a charming old Twin Cities Victorian. Dean draws each of three young daughters who live in the Victorian into the orbit of their handsome, mysterious neighbor, Dominic. Juniper, giddy at 16, falls rapidly toward and away from his charms. Rosemary, a fractious 11, suspects he's selling drugs, not dreams. Fourteen and on the troublesome cusp of adolescence, practical amateur astronomer Gentian turns into Dominic's adoring satellite, losing her cat, her friends and months of her stargazing time to his enigmatic company. Before the tale spirals down to a satisfying surprise ending, Dean makes the quirky world of today's teenage girls and their well-meaning but bemused parents utterly convincingAand does so without so much as a smidgen of smarm, subtly illuminating that eternal parental moan: What on earth does she see in him?
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