Tuesday, June 17, 2008



Bauer, Joan. 2008. Peeled.

First of all, I just want to say that I am a HUGE Joan Bauer fan. I typically love, love, love her work. I do. Hope Was Here is one of my favorite favorite books. Rules of the Road? Loved it. Best Foot Forward? Loved it. Stand Tall? Loved it. Joan Bauer was an author I discovered in June/July 2006 right before I started blogging. So my "proof" of adoration won't be found on my blog. (Though I'd love to reread some of these to review them here eventually). As soon as I started reading her books, I immediately passed them along to my mother. My mother is a voracious reader (like me), but she has very high standards. She doesn't want to waste her time. I knew Bauer would be an author that pleased her. I was right. We're both huge fans of her work.

However, I was disappointed with Peeled. I don't know if my expectations were too high. Or if I just never made a connection with the story. It could be mostly me. I don't know. But this one just didn't match up with what I expected a Bauer book to deliver. That's not to say that it doesn't have some merit. (I was discussing this book with someone in the last Librarians Choices meeting, and she was saying that Joan Bauer on a bad day is still better than some authors on a good day.)  Peeled is set in Banesville, New York, in apple country. Hildy Biddle (what a name!) is our heroine. She works for the high school newspaper, The Core. What follows is a mystery (perhaps there's my difficulty?) that unfolds slowly but surely. There's a "haunted" abandoned house in town. Overnight it seems that there is great interest in this house--in its past, in its ghosts, in its dangerousness. Fueling the fire--aiding the public's fears and suspicions--is the local newspaper The Bee. I won't go into all the details here. Hildy and her quest for the truth will lead her into direct competition with The Bee--and not everyone will be pleased about that.

More mystery than teen angst, Peeled might please some more than it pleased me. (It did earn a star in Publishers' Weekly) Journalism. The Quest for truth. The whole David versus Goliath theme. Media circuses. It might work for some people. I really wanted to love this one. I did. But I found it hard to suspend my disbelief. Does that ever happen to you? Do you ever find it easier to suspend your disbelief for fantasy works than for realistic fiction?

Other reviews: Amanda, And Another Book Read, Bookshelves of Doom, Sarah Miller, MotherReader,

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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Paige Y. said...

Hi Becky,

Peeled has been on my to-read list for a while but now i may move it towards the back. I've only read Hope Was Here and I LOVED it -- I was hoping I'd loved Peeled as well.


Jennie said...

I hate it when an author fails to deliver. I felt that way with Time's Memory. Had it been any other author than Julius Lester, it would have been fantastic, but over the course of his career, he's earned a much higher bar...

Also, I can always disband belief for fantasy, but I do have a hard problem with realistic fiction. I think it's the mindset. Anything can happen in a book with dragons because, dude, DRAGONS, it's all fiction. But with realistic fiction... you want to believe that it can happen, and so it's that much more jarring when something doesn't ring true.

Becky said...

Exactly! Exactly! Jennie. I'm right there with you on Time's Memory. :)

I still don't know about Peeled. It's possible it's just me--but I've come across a few other blogger reviews that felt it wasn't her best work either--but I think some people will like it better than others. It might be one of those books that younger folks might not be so judgmental on. If that makes any sense.

Ink Mage said...

I was pretty disappointed with Peeled as well, although I did love Joan Bauer's other books.

Tasha said...

This was my first Joan Bauer book that I read and I was impressed with it. After reading it I definitely want to read more, but I can definitely tell there is room for improvement. Now I know I must read Hope Was Here as I've heard so many good things about it!!

Anonymous said...

I just bought Hope Was Here within the last month. Now I have to read it sooner than later!