Thursday, December 14, 2017

Open If You Dare

33158535Middleton, Dana. Open If You Dare
October 17th 2017 by Feiwel & Friends

E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Birdie and her friends Ally and Rose have always hung out together, running through their neighborhood and setting up camp on a small island near their homes. When school is out, they spend their summer doing what they have always done, but with a sense of dread hanging over them. When 7th grade starts in the fall, Rose will be back at England and the other two will be at separate middle schools. Rose is irritated with her parents; she considers herself more American than British and doesn't want to leave her friends and return to wearing a uniform to school. She's also tired of being constantly expected to practice violin, and has a huge crush on a boy in their class, Romeo. Ally has her ups and downs on her baseball team, but Birdie is obsessed with a box that the girls have found on their island. It contained an Allman Brothers band concert ticket from 1973, a mood ring, and a cryptic notes saying that the writer, as well as someone else, was dead! Using the clues from the note as well as talking to neighbors, visiting a nursing home, and venturing to the public library, Birdie manages to uncover some information that leads her to believe there wasn't actually a murder, but discovers that solving the mystery is a good way to pass the summer (besides babysitting her younger sister Zora) and make her peace with the changes that the coming year will bring.
Strengths: I was close to Birdie's age in 1973, so I thought this one was fun. My best friend and I had a island in the woods where we set up a camp. Ten years ago, when my daughter was this age, she could have talked to original residents of our current neighborhood. There were a lot of things that I enjoyed about this. It wasn't a murder mystery, but it was charming, and the tween drama is very true to life. The twist at the end was fun as well. Very good conversation between Birdie and her mother about how Birdie feels she fits in as a child of a black father and white mother.
Weaknesses: A teenager would not have had a mood ring in 1973. They weren't produced until 1975, and they were on the expensive side. Also, I don't think a mood ring would still change colors after being in the damp ground for that long. They're pretty delicate. I can't believe a public library would store old books. It works out well for the mystery, but nobody has that kind of storage space. Children aren't going to know these things, but they also might not like the cover.
What I really think: Oh, like Beil's Summer at Forsaken Lake, I'll have to buy this one, and will recommend the heck out of it.

Ms. Yingling

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