Saturday, August 28, 2010

BOOK: Feeling Sorry When You Reach the Westing Game by assorted authors

Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty, 276 pages

Aussie Authors; Young Adult Challenge; 2nds Reading Challenge

Moriarty has the epistolary novel down pat. I previously enjoyed The Year of Secret Assignments. (The two books are part of a loose series, in the same town with connected characters, but not a linear series.) Here, Elizabeth writes letters to her penpal at a nearby school, notes on the fridge with her mother, the odd postcard from her missing best friend Celia, and the hilarious notes from Lizzy's brain from groups like the Best Friends Society, the Association of Teenagers, and the Cold Hard Truth Association. This was written in 2000, so not as much texting or emailing as a more modern book. Fun, easy book with a likable narrator.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, 193 pages

Young Adult Challenge; Newbery Prize Winner 2010

I didn't even realize this won the Newbery this year - much less hype then when Neil Gaiman won last year. Very much related and in homage to A Wrinkle in Time, Miranda's favorite book. Twelve year old Miranda is helping her mother prepare to be on $20,000 Pyramid in 1979 New York City. She is dealing with being poor with a single mother, the shifting sands of friendship in middle school, and suddenly, mysterious notes appearing in her belongings. I loved the setting, and really felt the city as a character and what it might be like to be growing up in NY. Nice use of relativity in a children's book, and if you've ever loved A Wrinkle in Time, I'd recommend this book.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, 185 pages

Newbery Prize Winner 1979; R author, A - Zed Challenge

So many people list this as an influence of their childhood, plus it's a Newbery Winner, I was inspired to read it. Probably one of those books it's best to read first as a young child, then it stays gold. As an adult, it was a cute book, a bit scattered in view points  and abrupt in places, but overall a nice little mystery. The clues are given, and it's a gateway book to Agatha Christie novels, with the locked library whodunnit. Six pairs of heirs are given apartments near the Westing House, and then given clues to decipher. First to figure it who killed Sam Westing gets the money. A colourful cast of characters to keep track of.

A bit unusual, but good intro for kids to a well-written, solvable  mystery.