by Ellen Raskin
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars
This is one of those books whose characters are going to stay with me for a long time. (Incidentally, I had the audiobook and it was the same narrator as the Bunnicula books, which I realized about halfway through. Also, the voice of Sydelle Pulaski will be with me for a very long time.) It took two tries to really get into it, but after a while the characters solidified and things came together. I was still along for the ride, though, and didn’t figure it out much before the solution was revealed, which is always nice. (Then again, I recently reread an Encyclopedia Brown that I remembered reading as a kid and could NOT figure them out! So maybe I’m not the world’s best mystery solver.) There were enough plot twists and turns to keep me on my toes but not so many to confuse me, though that might not be true for younger readers. I especially loved what happened to Angela, the meek, obedient girl who was engaged to a colossal jerk and who finally finds a way to stand up for herself and make her own way in life. Only one thing bugged me, and it can probably be chalked up to the book being written in 1979: both Sydelle (who uses crutches and is unclear whether she is actually injured) and Chris (who uses a wheelchair) are repeatedly referred to as “the invalid” or using other non-person-first language. So, if that’s of interest to you or a person you’re recommending this book for, just be aware of it. Other than that, great book!