By Beth Kephart
(HarperTeen, Hardcover, 9780061238932, 288pp.)
Publication Date: September 2007
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Like a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac, Elisa ghostwrites love notes for the boys in her school. But when Elisa falls for Theo Moses, things change fast. Theo asks for verses to court the lovely Lilaa girl known for her beauty, her popularity, and a cutting ability to remind Elisa that she has none of these. At home, Elisa's father, the one person she feels understands her, has left on an extended business trip. As the days grow shorter, Elisa worries that the increasingly urgent letters she sends her father won't bring him home. Like the undercover agent she feels she has become, Elisa retreats to a pond in the woods, where her talent for ice-skating gives her the confidence to come out from under cover and take center stage. But when Lila becomes jealous of Theo's friendship with Elisa, her revenge nearly destroys Elisa's ice-skating dreams and her plan to reunite her family.
National Book Award nominee Beth Kephart's first young adult novel is a stunning debut.
Beth Kephart was nominated for a National Book Award for her memoir A Slant of Sun. Her first novel for teens, Undercover, received four starred reviews and was named a Best Book by Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and Amazon.com. In 2005 Beth was awarded the Speakeasy Poetry Prize. She has also written Into the Tangle of Friendship: A Memoir of the Things That Matter; Still Love in Strange Places: A Memoir; Ghosts in the Garden: Reflections on Endings, Beginnings, and the Unearthing of Self; Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia's Schuylkill River; Zenobia: The Curious Book of Business; and House of Dance. She lives in Pennsylvania with her family.
“A beautifully written, engrossing tale…This is a book that no serious-minded teen will want to miss, and high school English teachers may also take note as it has a well-crafted and highly teachable text.” Rhona Campbell, Washington, DC Public Library
-School Library Journal (starred review)
“Readers will fall easily into the compelling premise and Elisa’s memorable, graceful voice, and have no trouble recognizing the teen’s quiet courage as she leaves her comfortable isolation, claims her own talents, and embraces the people who matter most.”
-Booklist (starred review)
“(An) intelligent, multilayered love story…Neatly balancing action and contemplation, Kephart offers a plethora of images, ideas about literature and even some well-known poems along with a plot that will speak to many teens.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)