Thursday, October 18, 2007

Falling from Grace by Jane Godwin

The other day, I reinforced the idea that children should not take candy from strangers. Falling From Grace reminds them not to drink from open containers from strangers, and for goodness sake, don't go into their houses!

Of course, the stranger is the key to the whole mystery.

This book looks like a fairly simple tale of a girl who goes missing off the coast of Australia. I didn't expect so many plot twists. Told from alternating viewpoints of the girl's sister and a boy on vacation, it ends up being a compact and tightly written mystery involving a creepy man and a lot of misplaced suspicion. There are enough elements to make this appeal to students who like problem novels, and there's nothing that would make this inappropriate for any age. I don't want to give away the plot, and the clues start dropping early, but this will be a good addition to my mystery collection. The only problem is that this is set in Australia, and it does mention that in June, when the children are off for vacation, it's winter!

Mary E. Ryan's The Trouble with Perfect (1995) has not seen much circulation, but it should. Kyle is a good student, but too short for basketball. This wouldn't bother him so much, but his "deficits" are thrown in his face whenever his father gets drunk, which is often now that his job is in jeopardy. This is a realistic but somewhat sanitized account of how parents have problems too, and children are affected by them. The ending is a bit too neat, but it's better to have a positive example of obtaining help and coping for children who might be in the same situation. I have a couple of readers who will both enjoy and benefit from this title.

And yes, I'm about done with all of the "R" authors but Philip Reeve. I'm going to try to take the Hungry City Chronicles home for Thanksgiving and read them all.

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