Thursday, June 05, 2014

The Bell Bandit (2012)

The Bell Bandit. Jacqueline Davies. (Lemonade War #3) 2012. HMH. 192 pages. [Source: Library]

The Bell Bandit is the third book in the Lemonade War Series. The novel opens with Evan, Jessie, and their mom going to Grandma's house to celebrate the holidays--New Years, to be precise. In the Lemonade Crime, Davies hinted that Grandma's memory was declining. She sent Jessie two copies of Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper. In the subsequent four months or so, things have gotten so much worse! Though I suspect the mom was a bit clueless at how much her mom had lost already.

Jessie and Evan are a bit confused as to WHY their Grandma burned the kitchen down. She'd always been a good cook before. Yet here Grandma was burning holes in walls, ceilings, and floors. And not remembering doing it. Blaming others. But even more disturbing to Evan and Jessie is Grandma forgetting them. Sometimes she remembers Jessie but not Evan. She can be quite cruel and want "that strange boy" to go away, to leave, that she doesn't like him or want him around. Sometimes she forgets Jessie too. Jessie who has always had a hard time reading people, understanding emotions and making solid connections, is truly confused by it all.

By far, this is the most serious the series has gotten. The book deals very honestly with the subject. But. It has its lighter moments. In The Bell Bandit, Jessie teams up with a neighbor, Maxwell (he likes to call himself Maxwell Smart), to solve the mystery of who stole the neighborhood bell. That mystery, of course, is solved by the end.

I continue to like Evan and Jessie. The mom continues to not enter into the story very much. Evan seems to be placed in several awkward moments where he's almost given full responsibility for watching and handling his Grandma. I'm not sure if the mom is truly failing to understand her mom's true condition OR if she's just not very bright. But Evan finds these situations overwhelming because Grandma, as much as he LOVES her, is more than he can handle.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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