by Jeanette Ingold
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-A novel set in rural Texas during World War I. The story begins with a suspicious barnyard fire that claims the life of Asia's beloved pet rabbit. In the days that follow, the teen's longtime friend, Nick Grissom, and his cousin Boy, who has just moved in with Nick's family, compete for her attention. Asia senses that there is something dangerous about Boy, and soon realizes that her feelings for Nick run deep. Meanwhile, she sees a Kodak Autographic camera in the drugstore window, earns the money to purchase it, begins to experiment, and eventually becomes an apprentice to the town photographer. Woven into this story line are subplots about other unexplained fires, Asia's grandmother's growing dementia, concerns about the war, and the limitations set on women at the time. The dominant theme of Asia's desire to take pictures is slow moving, and readers may wonder when the camera will play a larger role. However, the characters are believable and unique. The author presents Grandmama in an especially realistic and endearing way, addressing her gradual dementia and its effects on her granddaughter. Boy's anger is explained as his past is revealed. Through the first-person narrative, Asia shares her thoughts and insights. This novel should appeal to those who enjoy historical fiction with a little romance. Although events unfold slowly, Ingold draws readers in and makes them want to know and understand the characters as they grow and change.-Susan Knell, Pittsburgh State University, Pittsburgh, KS
Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc.