Snow! We have snow! This is not right at all, even for Ohio! Biking to school was difficult because while the roads were fairly clear, the road was strewn with ice-encrusted fallen leaves. Oh, and it supposedly felt like 15 degrees out. Awesome. This is why I don't check the weather. It just makes the commute worse!
Thompson, J.E. The Girl From Felony Bay
April 30th 2013
by Walden Pond Press
Nominated for the Cybils by Jen Robinson
Abbey Force has had a tough year. Her mother has died of cancer years ago, and her father is currently in a coma after falling from a ladder in what looks like an attempt to hide stolen goods. Because he can't defend himself, he is considered guilty in the theft of Miss Jenkin's treasures, and his law firm has to cover the costs. Abbey's home, Reward Plantation, has to be sold, and she has to live with her drunk and marginally abusive Uncle Charlie. When visiting her old home, she runs into Bee Force, whose African American family was at one time enslaved by Abbey's family, and whose mother is dead. She is being raised by her fiesty Grandma Em while her father is starting up a business in India. Abbey begins to suspect that part of the plantation, the Felony Bay section, belonged to her friend Scoogie's family, having been given to them at the end of the Civil War in an informal arrangement. Her father appears to be trying to deed the land over to them, but her Uncle Charlie has gotten his hands on it and is using it for nefarious purposes. The more Abbey and Bee investigate, the more alarming things they find out, and the more endangered they become. Will Abbey be able to find out what really happened with her father?
Strengths: I had various copies of this in my possession, and could never bring myself to read them because of the very depressing and quirky/Southern beginning. Since this was nominated for the Cybils by none other than Jen Robinson, when I got a copy at a book look, I knew I had to power through it. I'm glad I did. The mystery is believable, as is the actual physical danger the girls find themselves in, and the mystery winds up neatly without everything being tied in a perfect bow. The friendship with the girls is great, and the characters all are well portrayed and interesting. This reminds me of books I read as a child, but I can't put my finger on just which ones.
Weaknesses: Bad cover, somehow. Did not appeal to me at all, and as I said, reading the first chapter put me off as well. Still, knowing this will help me to recommend it to readers, even though it might take a bit of hand selling. This should have started off with the girls in grave danger and flashed back, even though I normally don't like that device.