Flashback July 2006

A flashback to what I was reading in July 2006.

The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer. From my review: “Enola Holmes’ mother has disappeared. The fourteen year old calls on her two older brothers, Mycroft and Sherlock, to assist; but they seem more interested in Enola being turned into a proper young lady than in what has happened to their mother. Enola takes matters into her own hands. . . .  Enola learns things about her mother, and her brothers; at first unsettling and disturbing, but ultimately what Springer does is use this to say: women were in a pretty powerless place in the late 19th century.  When one is without power, what can one do? And when one is underestimated, how can one turn that to their advantage?”

Caddy Ever After by Hilary McKay. From my review: “The most recent book about the Casson siblings is told by each of the four siblings, in connecting stories. While episodic, at it’s heart, this is a story about love and relationships: love between siblings, friends, family, and the opposite sex. It’s Hilary McKay. Of course it’s good. . . . What at first seems episodic, without plot, is actually a complex look at relationships and how we affect each other, whether we mean to or not. . . . I love the Cassons because they are so fierce about each other, but also so unique and so real and so fun.”

Dawn Undercover by Anna Dale. From my review: “Dawn, 11, is the type of kid no one notices. She waits to be noticed; by the crossing guard, by teachers, by classmates, by her parents. When someone does notice her, it’s a bit of a surprise. She’s been recruited by a super-secret spy agency. Not being noticed is a good trait for a spy. . . . This book brings on the fun with a lot of humor, both over the top and subtle. The spy agency is S. H. H. (Strictly Hush-Hush); Dawn’s been recruited for the P. S. S. T. (Pursuit of Scheming Spies and Traitors) division. Dawn is given a phone that is made to look like something else so that people won’t realize when she’s talking to spy headquarters. It’s shaped like a shell. A shell phone. That cracks me up. It’s the type of humor found in the Harry Potter books,; fans of HP (especially those who aren’t fantasy readers) will like DU.”

More Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet by Lola Douglas. From my review: “At the End of True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet, Morgan was “outed” yet chose to remain in school. MCOAHS begins with an Oprah taping (because, of course, Morgan has to share on air. It’s not real unless it’s on Oprah.) Things aren’t easier now that Morgan can be herself; friends and boyfriend doubt her because, you know, she lied; her mother wants her to start working again, pushing her to lose ten pounds; her stepfather/manager is trying to get her (and her career, and his agency) all the good publicity he can by making her half of a Bennifer-type couple.”

The Field Guide by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black. From my review: “Mallory (13), Simon (9) and Jared (9), and their mother have moved into the run down Spiderwick Estate. As they unpack and explore the house, the kids find more than they bargained for: faeries. And these faeries aren’t cute and helpful creatures.”

What Happened to Cass McBride? by Gail Giles. From my review: “Popular Cass McBride goes to sleep in her own bed and wakes up in a coffin. Seems like not everyone loves Cass. Kyle Kirby blames Cass for the death of David, his younger brother. So Kyle kidnaps Cass. And buries her alive.”

The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter by Susan Wittig Albert. From my review: “Beatrix Potter (yes, that Beatrix Potter!) solves crimes. These are cozy mysteries, set in England’s Lake District in the time between the turn of the century and World War I.”

Hugging The Rock by Susan Taylor Brown. From my review: “[This] is about a child’s worst nightmare: the loss of Mommy. Rachel’s mother has committed the ultimate sin: abandoned her child. Her baby. When Rachel’s mother leaves, she leaves completely; this is not about adjusting to life split between two parents, this is about adjusting to life without a parent. Each section of the book is timed from the world shattering moment that Mom drives away, leaving behind her child and leaving behind being a mother. . . .  Amazingly, STB manages to create a Mom who isn’t a monster. The sympathy (or perhaps more accurate, the pity) for the mother is never explicit; it’s in a phrase here, a fact revealed there.”

National Geographic Non Fiction Round Up. This is about a half dozen books, I guess you’ll have to click through to see them all!

Sky: A  Novel In  Three Sets And An Encore by Roderick Townley. From my review: “All Sky cares about is his music; his father wants Sky to stop fooling around and get serious about school. . . . Sky is a great example of a book that is set in the past for a reason. It could only happen in 1959; and it could only happen in New York. Sky captures NYC, during a time and place that is unique enough and rich enough to demand a book. And the music, the jazz, is important — so the book has to take place when jazz was new and fresh and dangerous.”

Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith. From my review: “Quincie Morris, 17, has a lot on her plate.  Her parents died three years ago, leaving her in the care of her 20something uncle, Uncle D.  And while Uncle D has been there for her, lately, he’s been absent, all his time taken up with his new girlfriend.  Quincie is trying to make a success of her parent’s legacy, an Italian restaurant started by her maternal grandparents; but business has been bad recently, so the restaurant is being remodeled to have a vampire theme and menu.  Quincie is a bit of a loner, except for her best friend Kieren.  She has a crush on him; problem is, Kieren is half werewolf.  And there’s the matter of a dead body in the restaurant kitchen.”

The Faery Reel edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling . From my review: “The Faery Reel contains short stories about faery; with each author and culture having a unique look at these creatures and worlds. In CATNYP by Delia Sherman, a mortal girl who is a “taken child” tries to find her place in faery society, where she is without any special powers. She ends up on a quest with a surprising twist. The setting is urban, with those of faery living in NYC with an amazing library (as can be guessed from the title). This was one of my favorite stories, with its modern setting, humor, and likable heroine.”


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