EMMA-JEAN LAZARUS FELL OUT OF A TREE; Lauren Tarshis; New York: Dial, 2007; 199 pgs. Fiction
Emma-Jean Lazarus is a Spock-like young lady who relies on logic to make her way through the world. We know this because she speaks without using contractions and she takes everything literally: when she finds Colleen Pomerantz crying in the bathroom because she has been stiffed out of her annual ski trip by the bossy Laura Gilroy, she offers to help and then tricks LG into staying home. This is a sweet little book painted in broad strokes about a girl who not only takes after her logical and somewhat standoffish father, but who shuts down her emotions almost entirely after his death. Emma-Jean Lazarus . . . is about friendship, peer pressure, good-hearted young girls, and tough cookies, and a young lady who makes a conscious decision to come back to life (she is well-named). This book is also welcome for its positive portrayal of religion--one of the book's best characters is a wise and kind Catholic priest.