From School Library Journal
Grade 6-10-This novel develops like a stand-up comedy routine and reads like the headlines in the National Enquirer. David Mahooley, 16, is home alone in his New York City apartment, suffering from depression and writer's block after his girlfriend's suicide attempt. His parents, unsympathetic toward her and unconcerned about their son's mental state, take off for Budapest. David finds Della through a bulletin-board ad; she is an acting/directing/writing coach who vows that, for a fee, she can cure his block. A flaky, alcoholic actress, also 16, she captures his imagination. He pursues her in frenetic chases through the city, loves her (habitual lies and all), and regains his creative energy. Della's friend Ed, a cross-dressing teen with his own TV show, is solicited to produce David's play, which will star Della. The plot is advanced with strings of one-liners, silly quotes, and lists of products and place names, bombarding readers with trivia. While YAs will appreciate the slapstick humor and the alienation of the misfit characters, the story will lead them to no great insights. Zindel, who quotes William Hazlitt ("One truth discovered is better than all the fluency and flippancy in the world") should take that advice.
REVIEWS BY KIDS
Although Paul Zindel is a literary genius, this far surpassed my highest expectations. David and Della are fascinating people, although a bit unbelievable. The story is gripping (I finished it in one day) and, in its own way, suspenseful: as Della's past is brought to light, she begins to slowly make sense, a great tactic. This is a book I will read many times.