Saturday, October 22, 2005

Gilda Joyce Psychic Investigator by Jennifer Allison

I loved this book! At the beginning, Gilda Joyce is studying a battered paperback book she found at a garage sale, The Master Psychic's Handbook: A Guide to Psychic Principles and Methods. She wants to be a professional psychic investigator, and spends all of her time wearing disguises and secretly observing human behavior. After boasting at school that she will be spending the summer in San Francisco, she remembers that she has distant relatives there. Her mother forbids it, but she writes a letter to them inviting herself for a visit. In the letter she claims her mother told her, "A young lady with your talents isn't meant to spend the summer wiping drool from the mouth of a big, dull lug of a boy (her brother, who is a perfectly normal intelligent boy)." She doesn't know that she has a cousin there who's the same age she is who just got hurt falling down the stairs when she thought she saw her dead aunt. The old mansion they live in is haunted, possibly by the ghost of the cousin's aunt who committed suicide years before, which is the perfect situation for Gilda to practice her psychic skills. This book is suspenseful, funny and sad. Review by Stacy Church

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Helicopter Man by Elizabeth Fensham

I have to say right up front that I did not love this book. However, it does give a good view into the life of a kid living in a terrible situation: trying to cope with a parent's mental illness. In this case, Pete has been on the run with his dad for years, hiding out from some unnamed someone (maybe a government conspiracy?) and he slowly begins to realize that his dad's behavior is not only bizarre, but may not be based on reality. I like the way the story resolves - I thought it was realistic, both in the ways that people tried to help him and in the way he reacted to them. Definitely worth reading. Review by Stacy Church

Flush by Carl Hiaason

After reading Carl Hiaason's first children's book Hoot, I couldn't wait to read his new one, Flush. I didn't find this one as funny as Hoot, but I did get hooked on the characters. This is another book about an environmental issue - Noah and Abigail's dad has been arrested for sinking a casino boat because he says it's been dumping human waste directly into the water of the Florida Keys. This is not his first arrest (he's not a criminal, he just has trouble controlling his temper when confronted with wrongdoing) and their mother is pretty fed up with his behavior at this point. Of course the kids take it on themselves to prove, well not their dad's innocence because he really did sink the boat, but to prove that he was justified in sinking it and that the real criminal is Dusty Muleman, the owner of the boat. I didn't love this book the way I did Hoot, but it's still worth reading. Review by Stacy Church