by Tracey Bateman

January 2006
ISBN: 0-446-69608-0
Reviewer Graphic Button Warner Books
Trade Paperback

Claire Everett is kind of the local celebrity in her town. After all, she is a published author. She is also the single mom of four children, facing an unexpected surgery, and still battling anger at her ex-husband five years after he left her. Most of the time, Claire doesnít even bother to get out of her pajamas and slippers, a fact that embarrasses her teenage daughter, Ari, to no end. And her thirteen-year-old son, Tommy, is another story. Whatís with all the black clothes?

When the fifth-grade teacher calls Claire in for a parent/teacher conference, Claire is convinced this is a piece of cake. After all, the child they are going to discuss is her perfect child, Shawn. To her surprise, the teacher is very handsome and appears to be equally attracted to her. But Shawn isnít quite as perfect as Claire believes, and Claire is left struggling to regain her footing. To try to make matters better she invents six-steps-to-a-better-life. Will these plans work? Or will they cause more problems than sheís prepared to handle.

Leave It to Claire is the first book in a new series by Ms. Bateman. I instantly identified with Claire, and emphasized with her as I face some of the same struggles in my own life. I couldnít wait to see what happened next and since two of my kids were sick, I took a day off to veg as well and read the book from cover to cover in one sitting, something rare these days.

Claire is Ďrealí and some of the scrapes she manages to get herself into are funny. The sequel to Leave It to Claire, titled Claire Knows Best will be coming out in June 2006 and I canít wait to read it. Tracey Bateman is definitely a name to watch in the mom lit genre. Discussion guestions are included at the end, making this the ideal for discussion groups.

Reviewed in December 2005 by Laura.

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