I slumped down on the hall bench and banged my forehead against one of the boxes I was holding. It was so unfair! The math grade, the move -- everything! Why couldn't we have just stayed in Texas?
This time, there wasn't even the prospect of moving some place decent again in a year or two either. This time, I was stuck. Forever. In population you've-got-to-be-kidding-me Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire.
In spite of my efforts to blend in and be normal, underneath I was anything but. Underneath, I was "Hi-my-name-is-Truly-and-my-father-just-lost-his-arm-in-the-war." I thought about Dad all the time. I couldn't help it. I wondered if he was scared when the bomb exploded. I wondered how he felt about losing his best friend. And I wondered if he'd ever be able to fly again?
Truly Lovejoy (yes, that really is her name) is a very tall twelve-year-old middle-child who dreads sticking out in the crowd yet secretly withers when her parents overlook her.
Her father, wounded in war, has been persuaded to return to his childhood town in Pumpkin Falls to manage the family bookstore with his feisty sister. And so the Lovejoys move to this quaint, tight town.
Truly truly tries her best to go into "stealth mode," to help out at home and at the bookstore without stirring up trouble.
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Add to all these life at the new middle school.
And a mystery, clasped between the pages of "Charlotte's Web" found in the Lovejoy bookstore.
And new friends.
And the next clue.
And the next, next clue.
And her father, Silent Man, who sees gloom in just about everything. Will the January thaw ever arrive? Will her father eventually thaw, too?
Absolutely Truly has got many elements I like in a story: a wintry background, a protagonist who constantly feels awkward, colourful (albeit also typical) local folks like the weird cat woman or the gossipy postmistress or the helicopter mom, a big family in an old, spacious house, a chattery and well-travelled aunt, frequent mentions of donuts, pies and hot beverages, frequent mentions of literary classics, and ... a bookshop.
Oh, to own and manage a bookshop! Shelves of stories, the display according to the holidays, Story Hour, staff recommendations, new books, favourite classics, the reading nook, pretty stationery ...
Which section do you hit first in a quaint bookshop? The classics? Children's? Mystery? Romance?
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Hey, I'm Claudine. Welcome!
Want to know what children's stories can inspire & lead to?
by Kate Hanney
Really enjoyed the honest voice of this narrator ~ a teenager let down by his mother and the foster care system, and almost-picked up through his involvement with a gang.