Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tell Me (2014)

Tell Me. Joan Bauer. 2014. Penguin. 272 pages. [Source: Library]

I have loved some of Joan Bauer's novels in the past, titles like Rules of the Road and Hope Was Here. I didn't exactly love, love, love Tell Me. Not as much as I was hoping to anyway.

Tell Me is a middle grade novel starring a twelve-year-old girl named Anna. She's been involved in drama--acting--for most of her life. Her current job, her current role, is dressing up as a cranberry for a store at the mall. She loves to dance and be silly and crazy, anything to bring in a crowd. Change is coming, however. Anna isn't exactly welcoming it. Her parents have been fighting a lot. She fears divorce is coming. She loves her Dad oh-so-much. But even she can't deny that he's had problems with controlling his anger since he lost his job. He has changed, their family dynamics have changed. Now her parents are separated and in counseling. Her mom wants her to spend the summer with her grandmother. Her mom needs her to spend the summer with her grandmother. Even though this isn't the way she thought she'd be spending her summer, she handles it relatively well. She arrives. She meets new people. She gets a new role: this time dressing up as a petunia. She makes new friends. She learns to trust herself. She learns to speak up. She learns to ride a horse.

One day, presumably while dressed up as a petunia in the library, she witnesses something disturbing. She sees a scratched-up van arrive in the parking lot. Their is a scared-looking girl being dragged by an Asian woman. They want to know where the bathroom is. Minutes later she sees this same girl try to make a run for it in the parking lot. Anna's instincts say that this girl--this girl that appears to be around her own age--is in big, big trouble. She needs help. Probably. Definitely. Could she be a kidnap victim? Anna is frantic to remember as much as she possibly can. She records all the details she can remember--and she adds to this list throughout a week or two. She is determined to do something, to act, to not let this go until she knows the girl is safe. The local sheriff is unconvinced. But. Anna is one stubborn girl. Surely there are adults that will listen, that will act.

I liked this one. It was a quick read.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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