THE MONA LISA OF SALEM STREET by Jan Marino

THE MONA LISA OF SALEM STREET

Age Range: 10 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Nettie, 12, and her younger brother John Peter are being shuffled off to yet another relative. Since their parents died years ago their cantankerous Grandma Bessie has tried to palm them off on anyone who would take them. They always end up back with her because she never sends the promised financial incentives. Now they are to live with their paternal grandfather, Pa, whom they have never met. He lives above his defunct funeral parlor and talks constantly to his dead wife. In a family dilemma similar to that found in Richard Peck's Father Figure (Dell, 1988) or Bruce Brooks's No Kidding (Harper, 1989), Nettie has trouble letting go of her role as surrogate parent; she is jealous of characteristically shy John Peter's instant closeness to Pa. Despite her best efforts to the contrary, she is determined not to love her grandfather until she is sure that they are staying. This warm and gentle novel glows with the firm and sensible affection of their grandfather, whose own life has been hollow since his wife's death, but whose heart still has plenty of room inside. Nettie, who is a mass of insecurities, resentments, and fears hidden under a mask of spunky self- sufficiency, is an engaging heroine, and the story is touching and satisfying. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-316-54614-3
Page count: 155pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1995




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