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Publishers Weekly, 2000-08-25 Witty and deftly paced, Koss's (The Girls) sprightly novel revitalizes a familiar plot. Sixth-grader Mitzi, the narrator, has been desperately trying to get her classmate Mike to notice her. When she gets an eyelash in her eye and starts to tear up, she is positively thrilled that he asks if she's okay. The eyelash seems too banal to mention, so almost before she knows it, Mitzi is telling Mike that her mom is sick (well, her mother is in a terrible mood from trying to quit smoking). "What should I have said?" she asks the reader. "I was crying over war? World hunger?" The lie takes on a life of its own, and soon Mitzi's whole class is making sympathy cards to help her face her mother's recovery from a critical operation ("Our hearts are with you," writes the teacher on the envelope). The author cleverly balances the lighthearted with the thoughtful, and her characterizations are both on target and very funny. Mitzi's quick repartee with her friends and parents shows particular understanding of middle-graders and their concerns, and the adults, too, are lifelike. Kids will get a strong message about the addictiveness of cigarettes, as well as about the pitfalls of straying too far from the truth, but the lessons never get in the way of the laughter. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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