July 6, 2016

The Amethyst Summer by Bianca Bradbury (1963)

How do you manage a big house, keep three brothers and your father properly nourished when they all seem to have hollow legs, and have a life of your own if you're sixteen years old and inexperienced to say the least? How do you make it clear to your brothers and their friends that you no longer intend to be the pal who is always ready to catch a ball, hold a wrench, and generally make yourself agreeable and useful as a chum? That, in fact, you intend to try for a more glamourous role in their lives? And how do you do the friendly and neighborly thing for an interesting but diffident refugee family that moves in next door?

All of these problems confronted Bayley because her mother had to leave her family one summer to take care of an ailing relative. Bayley rather lightly undertook to fill her place but almost immediately realized she was over her head. After a pretty grim start, however, she began to learn how to manage a house, serve an acceptable meal, and get her social life oriented toward dating rather than just being a good scout.

An excellent story for older girls, told with understanding and humor, about one of the most important facets of growing up. (from the inside flap)

Love Taps Gently by Janet Lambert (1955)

Charming, lovable Susan Jordon, whose longing for a home was happily satisfied in A Dream for Susan, is now sixteen and even better able to cope with the disturbing family crises which develop so unexpectedly. The manner in which Susan and the Jordon family as a whole, meet these crises, forms the plot of this appealing story.

The Jordons' life at Gladstone Gates has settled into a happy routine. Neal, Susan's twin, and young Vance are working for the summer on the Parrishs' estate. Although General Jordon, now a business executive rather than an Army officer, is disturbed by his erratic step-daughter Gwenn's threat to sue him for mismanagement of her inheritance, he is trying to keep the three younger children from knowing of the unpleasant development. With everyone apparently happy, Susan is enjoying a mild flirtation with her other half-sister Alice's young brother-in-law, Keith Drayton. Keith proves a source of constant irritation to Bobby Parrish, whose career as an Army Lieutenant has done little to dampen his light-hearted exuberance. As far as he is concerned, Susan is his property, and his attitude is causing Susan some uneasiness. All of the Jordons miss the youngest daughter, Bitsy, who for five years has been living in England with her oldest sister, Jennifer and her husband, Cyril, Lord Carlington.

When suddenly Bitsy returns to America, a cold, self-centered thirteen-year-old; and when Gwenn explodes on the family unexpectedly and collapses into a serious illness, the Jordons find that both problems can be solved with gentle understanding and love. Bobby Parrish surprises everyone by his own surprising contribution and even Bitsy comes to realize that love is a gentle giving, rather than an insistent demand.

Readers who are meeting the Jordons for the first time will be enchanted with this delightful family. Those to whom the Jordons are old friends, will be gratified that Susan's summer ends happily, after all! (from the inside flap)

Junior Miss by Sally Benson (1939)

Reflection in a Million Mirrors

She's tall for her twelve years, and heavily built. From her shoulders to her knees she is entirely shapeless, and below her skirt, which is too short for her, her legs are hard and covered with scratches. She wears a sloppy sweater, two charm bracelets of a brassy color, and a locket and chain that fastens so tightly around her neck it seems it might throttle her. In the locket is a rather dim snapshot of a kitten and a clear picture of Tyrone Power, clipped from a movie magazine. She's outgrown her devotion to Tyrone Power, but she still gets a lump in her throat when she remembers the kitten, whose name was Bilgy. She has also outgrown toys at Christmas, but there's something empty about Christmas Day in spite of the jade green lounging pajamas and the silk stockings. She's the girl you loved in the stage and screen plays based on this book, and she personifies all the naive realities and sophisticated fantasies of the in-between years. (from the back cover)

Editorial Comment: Could this be a LESS enticing description? Also, I love the note on the back of the Pocket edition: Share this book with someone in uniform. I'm sure they'll love it!