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THE OUTCASTS OF 19 SCHUYLER PLACE by E.L. Konigsburg Kirkus Star


by E.L. Konigsburg

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-689-86636-4
Publisher: Atheneum

Master novelist Konigsburg hones her sense of irony to a razor edge in this exploration of the backstory behind one of Silent to the Bone’s secondary characters: Connor’s older half-sister Margaret. Margaret, 12, has just been rescued from her authoritarian summer camp by her eccentric great-uncles. She is delighted to leave the tender offices of her vicious bunk-mates and the camp director’s insistence on lockstep enjoyment of all camp activities; she is monumentally alarmed to discover that her beloved uncles’ backyard Tower Garden, a fantasy of steel and glass, is slated for demolition, a victim of historical zoning. Determined to save the towers, Margaret begins a campaign informed by civil disobedience (in which camp has made her proficient: “I prefer not to,” says she) and civic involvement. This story condescends not one whit to its audience, passionately confronting readers with the critical importance of history, art, beauty, community, love, and, above all, the necessity to invest oneself in meaningful action. This it does with every word in place, occasionally indulging in dizzying linguistic riffs, always conscious of the ironies inherent in the acts of living and growing up. (Fiction. 10+)