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Children's Literature Reviews
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Flying changes
by Lynn Hall.
Publisher description
San Diego : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, c1991.
148 p. ; 24 cm.

Annotations:

Seventeen-year-old Denny and her family face hard times when her father is injured on the rodeo circuit.

Best Books:

Bulletin Blue Ribbons, 1991 ; Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books; United States
YALSA Best Books for Youth, 1992 ; American Library Association; United States

Reviews:

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1991)
A penetrating look at a pivotal week in the life of a young girl who has been living on a ranch with her father and grandmother. Denny's father, a womanizer who makes his living on the rodeo circuit, is returning home after being paralyzed in an accident. Denny has lost her heart, and her virginity, to a young man staying at the ranch--a younger version of her father, she suspects. Her mother, who deserted the family years before, also returns, showing a sudden concern for her injured husband and hoping to open a pet-care salon. From beginning to end, this is a woman's story--the male characters are all-too-insincere and almost proudly irresponsible. Still, Hall offers a brilliant portrait of the games adults play, games in which Denny is reasonably sure she won't take part. The title refers to an ordinary subplot involving a horse (the sale of which will save the ranch). Otherwise, the story unfolds as an earthy, idiosyncratic surprise. 1991, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, $13.95. © 1991 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
Over the course of a week, 17-year-old Denny has to teach one of the horses on the ranch how to do a ``flying change'' (an athletic maneuver performed while loping). Meanwhile, the girl's life is full of flying changes: she loses both her virginity and the boy she thinks she loves, her father breaks his back at a rodeo, her long-gone mother returns and her beloved grandmother moves out. With the help of her family and her best friend, however, Denny copes and grows up in a story that, while moving quickly, has a healthy message about self-sufficiency and the adaptability of the human heart. Readers will find little sentiment and few details of the equine part of Denny's life, but Hall's focus on Denny and her problems should keep all but the most rabid aficionados of horse novels satisfied. Ages 14-up. (May)

Deborah Stevenson (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July/August 1991 (Vol. 44, No. 11))
Seventeen-year-old Denny Browner is in a bind: her father lies seriously injured in a distant city; her first crush, to whom she has just lost her virginity, is driving off to rejoin the rodeo circuit; and she has five days to train a horse up to the standards the prospective buyer demands. To complicate matters, her estranged mother returns after ten years' absence "to take care of my husband in his hour of need," driving--or is it allowing?--Denny's grandmother out of the house. Denny's first-person narration describes her grappling with the transitions of her difficult life, and Hall paints the picture with rich and subtle insight. The book also contains some of her finest characterization, with seeming cliches refined into complicated portraits, such as Denny's father, an aging rodeo Lothario paralyzed for life from a stupid drunken stunt; and Denny's Gramma B, the salt-of-the-earth prairie woman who used to give Tupperware parties but now vends mail-order lingerie to the neighbors. Best of all is Denny's surprisingly likable mother Rita, the apparently ditzy country gal with purple toenails: she turns out to be a hard worker with good sense but is nevertheless shockingly and chillingly vindictive towards her errant husband. Set in the dusty heat of a Kansas country summer, the book's rueful wisdom and understated but heartfelt outpourings ("You talk about taking care of me, but you're saying it with one foot on the gas pedal," says Denny to her love as he leaves) give it the solid appeal of a good country and western song. Review Code: R -- Recommended. Subjects: Adaptability; Mother-daughter relations. (c) Copyright 1991, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1991, Harcourt, 148p, $13.95. Grades 7-12.

Subjects:

Horses--Fiction.
Country life--Fiction.
LanguageCall NumberLCCNDewey DecimalISBN/ISSN
English (eng) PZ7.H1458 Fmc 1991
90045516 [Fic]
0152287906 : $13.95
9780152287900
978-0-15-228790-0
0152287906
9780152287900
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