Thursday, June 03, 2010

Palace Beautiful by Sarah DeFord Williams

 palace “’My name is Sadie Evelyn Brooks.  I’m thirteen years old and practically a woman.  I love painting, Frosty Cocoa Flakes cereal and my family.  I hate stomachaches, spiders and saying good-bye.  July 5, 1985.’  That’s what I wrote on the inside of my bathroom cabinet just before we hopped in the car to leave Texas for good. That way, even if it was just in the bathroom, I’d always be a part of the story of the house where I used to live.”  What a great beginning!   Soon after Sadie moves into her new house, she finds what a previous resident left behind: the words “Palace Beautiful” handpainted over the doorway of a tiny room in the attic, and inside the room, an diary from 1918 written by Helen White.  Sadie, her sister Zuzu, and their new friend Bella limit their reading of the diary to 3 entries at a time to make it last longer, and they become determined to find out what happened to Helen White after the terrible flu epidemic killed most of her family.  Although some of the story elements seemed a little over the top (the names Sadie gives to colors, like Judgment-Day White and Sugar-Punch Pink), I really enjoyed the characters, and the way the two stories paralleled each other.  Review by Stacy Church

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