'Stop Pretending,'

By Sonya SonesHarperCollins, $14.95.

It's not great poetry, but it is great adolescent literature. Sonya Sones has culled poems from the journals she kept when she was 13, and she has written a moving first-person account of her family's life the year her older sister went into a mental hospital.

This, from the title poem, "Stop Pretending:"

Stop pretending.

right this minute.

Don't you tell me

you don't know me.

Stop this crazy act

and show me

that you haven't changed.

Stop pretending

you're deranged.

Stop a minute.

You'll remember things

like they used to be

when you used to read to me

from Dr. Seuss in our backyard. . . . -- Susan Whitney

'John Glen: A Memoir'

By John Glenn with Nick Taylor

Bantam, $27

John Glenn, a bona fide American hero, who is better known as an astronaut than a U.S. senator, has written an interesting, if not riveting, account of his life that sounds very much as if he were just chatting with the reader. That is a strength as well as a weakness. The reader will learn a great deal about the early days of jet aviation, as well as the development of the Project Mercury program, for which he was selected as a participant, resulting in his manning the first U.S. orbital mission.

And his wife, Annie, who fought a serious stuttering problem for much of her life, is almost as interesting as Glenn.

One major problem with the book is that it seriously shortchanges his lengthy career as a U.S. senator. His comments on his public career seem almost an afterthought to his career as a pilot and an astronaut. That is unfortunate, especially since he was a serious presidential candidate in 1984.

His career ended climactically, however, as he went once more into space in 1998 at the age of 77. His reactions to that trip and his opinion of its importance are well worth reading. -- Dennis Lythgoe

'Because Cowards Get Cancer Too'

By John Diamond

Times Books, $20

In 1997, John Diamond was diagnosed with cancer. Diamond, a London columnist known for his witty, intelligent writing, looks at cancer in this book from his own viewpoint -- a hypochondriac who is devastated by the prospect of coping with the 20th century's most dreaded disease. In a curmudgeonly, yet informative account, he tells his own experience of struggling with diagnosis and treatment.

How, for instance, does someone diagnosed with cancer tell friends and family? How does he deal with friends' reticence in talking about it? How does it feel to be regularly called "a brave soul"? How do you deal with the well-intentioned purveyors of alternative health solutions?

Not only is this a refreshing look at health problems from someone who is extraordinarily gifted at self-expression, but it relates to experiences most of us have had, seeking a correct diagnosis of whatever ailment may afflict us. The author has succeeded in making a potentially depressing topic both interesting and enjoyable. -- Dennis Lythgoe