Sunday, September 5, 2010

Beth Kephart, UNDERCOVER

A beautifully written YA about a girl who plays Cyrano to her friend Theo's Christian, in his courting of Lila, the nasty girl's Roxane. Teenage Elisa has no friends at school (somewhat peculiar, as she's personable), a beautiful sister and mother, and a father who travels most of the time. She takes refuge in nature, in language (we have the usual passionate English teacher Dr. Charmin), and ice skating on the pond.

First line: Once I saw a vixen and a dog fox dancing.

Other beautiful lines: In the woods that night the old snow had turned to slush and the muck of animal tracks, and there were sapphire shadows between the trees.

My one gripe with the book ... I must confess I get tired of reading about girls who want to be writers, or are "discovered" by their English teachers. But that aside, this book is a lovely narrative about a girl who first hides behind words and then discovers that they are only one medium--music and ice skating become the others--through which she accesses her own experience.

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