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OUT OF ORDER by Betty Hicks

OUT OF ORDER

By Betty Hicks

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 1-59643-061-3
Publisher: Deborah Brodie/Roaring Brook

When a family doubles in number, it’s like shuffling a deck of cards to see who comes out on top. When Lily (11) and Parker’s (9) mom marries Frank, Eric (15) and V’s (13) dad, the pecking order changes for them all. Told in four voices, each set in a different type style, each kid expresses his or her feelings and frustrations. Fireworks erupt when someone breaks Lily’s single sunflower. All fingers point to V who insists she didn’t do it. In revenge, Lily kills V’s tomato plants that she had planned to sell to send soccer balls to Iraqi kids. A rescue plan to raise money for V’s project with a Rock-Scissors-Paper tournament becomes the uniting force. The death of Eric and V’s brother, Parker’s plan to sell Twinkies stuffed with cicadas, gothic Eric’s obsession with Tolstoy and Lily’s analysis of sibling traits according to oldest/youngest are all part of this engaging puzzle of four stepsiblings trying to sort out the pieces of new family relationships. Clever cover, real-life kids, humor and inventive plot detail make this a first-rate read, guaranteed to spur games of RSP. (Fiction. 8-12)