From Publishers Weekly
Coyly channeling teen quirkiness and enthusiasm, Moriarty captures the essence of a girl's adolescent years in her epistolary first novel. Consisting entirely of letters and notes written to and from protagonist Elizabeth Clarry, this peek into the life of an Australian teenager reads like a clandestine perusal of a very capably written diary. The daughter of divorced parents, Elizabeth is becoming reacquainted with her father, who has recently returned to Australia and wants to make up for all the time with her he's missedAthis consists primarily of dragging her to expensive restaurants. Her life is further complicated by her best friend, Celia Buckley, who careens from one escapade to the next, confident someone else will bail her out. An English assignment lands Elizabeth a pen pal from a neighboring school, and she is becoming a serious long-distance runner, but Celia (and boys, of course) are serious distractions. Holding her own despite internal doubts, Elizabeth navigates the murky waters of adolescence essentially alone. Her mother is a parody of a contemporary career woman: emotionally dependent and immersed in her job at an ad agency, she leaves dizzy notes (many of which are no more than thinly veiled pleas for help with ad campaigns) around the house for Elizabeth, who is left to cook, clean and look after herself. Although adults may find the novel cloying at times, and younger readers might miss some of the humor (especially where the behavior of the adults is concerned), this teen's journey of self-discovery is a pleasant, feather-light distraction. (Mar.)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Life isn't going well for high school student Elizabeth Clarry. Her absentee father just moved back to Australia from Canada for a year, and now he wants to spend "quality time" with her. She's getting anonymous love notes from a boy who refuses to tell her his name. Worst of all, her best friend has run away and joined the circus. In this funny, engaging novel-told as a series of notes and letters-Elizabeth deals with imperfect parents and romantic disappointments as well as tragedies large and small. Over the course of the story, she confronts everything from pimples and forgotten homework to the death of a pet and a suicide attempt by her best friend. Eventually, Elizabeth learns to stop obsessing over the flighty, thoughtless Celia and comes to appreciate her own gifts. Her intelligence and wry sense of humor come through strongly in her letters to her mother and her friends. Elizabeth's ditzy mother and new pen pal are especially vivid characters. At times the story tries to juggle too many plot elements, but, overall, this is a light, enjoyable novel about a memorable young woman.-Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.