Until this summer, the biggest problems 16-year-old Samantha Davis faced were her embarrassingly large breasts, (nicknamed "the Grand Tetons after those mountains in Wyoming,") and the fact that her gorgeous best friend, Kitty, always made her feel like a Plain Jane: "It sounds awful, but if you saw a Jaguar and a Ford Taurus parked next to each other, which one would you want to drive?" But now Sammie's parents are splitting, and suddenly she is being assaulted by changes from every direction. She is forced to move from upstate New York to Manhattan, play nursemaid to her depressed mother, and suffer the utter boredom of not knowing anyone in a city of 8 million. But then she meets Eli, the cute "crunchy granola" son of her mom's friend, and Phoebe, the quirky girl in Central Park who categorizes people by the dog breed they resemble. Exposure to the urban scene, new friendships, and a developing sense of self cause Sammie to realize "that along with love comes other four-letter words. Like hate
, obviously.... And gain
. And most important, grow
Like other recently published first novelists Lori Aurelia Williams (When Kambia Elaine Flew in from Neptune) and Cat Bauer, (Harley: Like a Person), Carolyn Mackler convincingly captures all the drama, longing, and humor of 21st-century female adolescence. Fresh, funny, and completely irreverent, Love and Other Four-Letter Words is destined to find a place in the hearts of teenaged girls. (Ages 12 and older) --Jennifer Hubert
From Publishers Weekly
Though first-time novelist Mackler creates a sympathetic 16-year-old narrator filled with realistic anxieties, her dependence on familiar themes and plot development, plus heavy-handed pop culture references, makes for a lukewarm read. When Sammie's parents decide on a trial separation, she calls it "the obliteration of the belief that Mom and Dad were the 7th Heaven,we-have-problems-yet-we-gleefully-work-through-them type of parents." Her Cornell professor father heads off on sabbatical in California, while her mother, a stifled artist, yanks Sammie with her from Ithaca to New York City. The protagonist must deal with adjusting to a new city, a depressed mother who can't get out of bed, and only seems to manage monosyllabic responses to her father's phone conversations. When her narcissistic best friend, Kitty, comes to visit, they fight and Kitty leaves in a huff citing " irreconcilable differences." Sammie finds support in a new bond with Phoebe, an offbeat dog lover, and Eli, the hippie son of her mother's college roommate. Readers will relate to Sammie's internalized self-loathing; she's self-conscious about everything from her name, to her over-developed figure, to her only-been-kissed-once status. But they will likely predict the exact moment when Sammie and Eli will share their first kiss and when her father will finally reappear to sort out built-up tensions. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.