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broodings from the burrow

December 6, 2016

into the stacks: june 2016, part 2
posted by soe 2:33 am

I’ve got a lot of books to tell you about before the end of the year. Here are three more I read back in June:

The Entirely True Story of the Unbelievable FIB, by Adam Shaughnessy

This book, written by a fellow English-major classmate of mine from college, is the second book in June in which Baba Yaga makes an appearance. Prudence aspires to solve mysteries just like her police detective father, who was recently killed while on duty, but her sleuthing tends to get her into trouble. But then she and ABE, the new puzzle-solving boy in town, team up to answer the question, “What is the Unbelievable FIB?” written on a note slipped under Prudence’s bedroom door one night while she slept, a pretty big mystery indeed.

In the course of the book, they’ll meet a talking squirrel, several Norse gods, and Mr. Fox, who spent some time living with Baba Yaga. But, in addition to figuring out about the note, they’ll also need to solve why their town seems to be suddenly shrouded in perpetual bad weather or the consequences could be dire. Good for the kid who’s read every Rick Riordan, but still wants more gods come to earth hijinks.

Pages: 272. Personal copy.

Summerlost, by Ally Condie

Pages: 272. Library copy.

Cedar and Miles and their mom are spending a couple months in the small town outside Salt Lake City where Mrs. Lee grew up as a way for them to get through the first summer vacation since Mr. Lee and their youngest brother Ben were killed in a car crash. Twelve-year-old Cedar is understandably resentful of being yanked away from her friends, but is intrigued when she sees a boy her age riding down the street dressed in a costume. It turns out Leo works for the local summer stock theater, Summerlost, and Cedar gets a job there, too, selling programs.

Soon, though, Leo and Summer are leading illicit tours about the life of the mysterious actress who died in Iron Creek decades ago, while performing at Summerlost. Her ghost may haunt the theater. And now there seems to be a ghost haunting Cedar, as well, leaving her small trinkets of the sort that her youngest brother used to be attracted to.

This story had an old-fashioned feeling to it, despite its modern issues. Probably a good fit for those who like other kid lit books set during summer, such as The Penderwicks or The Great Good Summer or Gone-Away Lake.

Love & Gelato, by Jenna Evans Welch

Apparently I was on a roll for reading books featuring dead parents, because there’s one in Love & Gelato, too. In this case, Lina is 16 and her beloved artist mom has recently died after a battle with cancer. Her dying wish was that Lina be sent to live in a Tuscan cemetery with Howard, a man her mother has never before mentioned, but with whom, her grandmother informs her, her mother lived with just before returning home to have Lina. When her mother’s journal of her year in Tuscany arrives at the cemetery (care of the assistant curator of the museum, whom her mother also knew), Lina figures this is her mother’s way of explaining things to her herself. As she reads along, she sets out to see the things her mother described, from the gelaterias to the dance halls to the museums, all with the company of her new friend, Ren, whom she meets while out running. The two of them will work to unravel the mystery of Lina’s and her mother’s past and to help Lina find peace in her new circumstances.

Recommended for fans of 13 Little Blue Envelopes and Stephanie Perkins’ and Sarah Dessen’s books.

Pages: 390. Library copy.

One more installment to get us through the June reads. Hopefully coming soon…

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