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,
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