Sarah's Stars

Glen Huser. Skinnybones and The Wrinkle Queen
Groundwood Books  $9.95  ISBN 0-88899-733-7  192 pg.
Reviewed by Meghan, Age 15

There is an old woman (surprise!) sitting in an armchair against the lounge wall. She is wearing a dress the color of overripe tomatoes with a big, sparkly broach pinned to it. She has dyed black hair and the meanest eyes Iíve ever seen in a human being not on TV. And about a million wrinkles.

The Wrinkle Queen

A lip-glossed smile is frozen onto her face. Sheís wearing eye makeup that Nefertiti of Egypt would have thought excessive and her hair, a magenta color, has been clamped here and there with little clips Ė like a permanent curl treatment being caught in mid-session at the beauty parlor. Although sheís as tall and slender as a Zulu princess sheís wearing a too-tight little jacket and some kind of tank top that looks like itís been fished out of a lost-and-found box. Itís difficult to tell if what she has on is a skirt or just a lacy slip. And shoes that a chorus girl might wear. Heaven help us! I canít withhold a chuckle.

Skinnybones.

Tamara is a foster child who dreams of being a model. Miss Barclay is her senior citizen Ďbuddyí who would like to see the opera once more before she dies. Tamara lacks cash, Miss Barclay canít drive. Both have a personality as prickly as a cactus. Not exactly a match made in heaven, but sometimes you just have to find a means to an end. Tamara agrees to accompany Miss Barclay to Seattle to watch a circuit of operas in return for the money she needs to apply to a modeling camp. But when Tamaraís absence is discovered and the police are called in, both Tamara and Miss Barclay will get more than they bargained for.

Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen is not only hilarious; itís also entertaining and keeps you enthralled Ďtil the very end. I certainly didnít expect the story to end as it did, but I was glad that there was a happy ending after all. This is really a story about two people of very different ages who remind each other of things they had forgotten. Skinnybones is a sort of coming of age story as well as an adventure about friendship. Glen Huser has done a magnificent job in portraying the two main characters and being able to give them each a very unique voice. I loved Skinnybones and I would recommend it for girls and women, age 13 and up. Itís an immensely enjoyable story that is just a delight to read.

Iíd give Skinnybones and The Wrinkle Queen five hilarious stars.

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