Thursday, April 22, 2021

Six Feet Below

Jones, Ena. Six Feel Below Zero
April 13th 2021 by Holiday House
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Rosie and Baker have lived with their Great-Grammy ever since the death of their parents. Their grandmother, a lawyer they call Grim Hesper, took out loans in her parents names and is determined to sell the old house that the children and her mother are living in. When Great-Grammy starts to feel unwell, she makes some unusual plans, but passes away before she can tell Rosie about them. Baker knows that the reason there is a brand new chest freezer in the basement is because they are to store Great-Grammy's body there and pretend she is still alive until their Aunt Tilly can be retrieved to take care of them and keep them out of their grandmother's clutches. So they do. It's a bit odd, having Great-Grammy in one freezer while getting their meals out of one nearby, but Rosie and Baker keep their wits about them. They tell everyone that she is just unwell, but after a disastrous text to all of Great-Grammy's contacts, Grim Hesper shows up and ensconces herself in the house. She starts to auction off furniture and preparing the property for sale, as well as to investigate far flung boarding schools for the children to attend. Will their aunt be able to make it home before their secret is discovered? 
Strengths: Great-Grammy is a fantastic character, and I loved all of the thought that she put into her own demise. Rosie and Baker keep level heads, and do a good job of holding every thing together. Grim Hesper is over-the-top evil. There are lots of friends and neighbors who are supportive, and who bring lots of casseroles, so it's good to see that community supporting Rosie and Baker, because they have been through a lot. Holiday House covers are improving a bit. 
Weaknesses: I would have liked to know more about why Grim Hesper was so evil. The very idea of children keeping dead bodies around for any reason doesn't sit well with me, and might upset sensitive readers. Also-- I would have gotten a freezer that locked. 
What I really think: If you or your students enjoyed Pennypacker's Summer of the Gypsy Moths (2012) or have a nostalgic longing for Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events, this might fit the bill. 

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