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CICADA SUMMER by Andrea Beaty

CICADA SUMMER

By Andrea Beaty

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: May 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8109-9472-0
Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Feeling responsible for her brother’s accidental death, sixth-grader Lily Mathis has not spoken for two years when storekeeper Fern’s niece Tinny Bridges arrives in their small town, determined to discover Lily’s secret and bringing a mystery of her own. In her first full-length novel, picture-book author Beaty weaves elements from Lily’s favorite Nancy Drew stories together with a moving picture of a child emerging from a shell of grief. She presents readers with a Chicago gangster, a sports car and a clue in a Tootsie Pop wrapper, but also two motherless children coping with additional losses in their particular ways. In mid-20th-century Olena, Ill., everyone knows everyone’s business and adults still gather at the local store to gossip—rich territory for aspiring young detectives. Lily’s first-person narrative cuts back and forth from the present day to her memories, and the details of her brother’s death and the reasons for Tinny’s odd behavior become mysteries for the reader to solve as well. An interesting extension for Nancy Drew fans, this may create some new ones as well. (Fiction. 9-12)