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by Kathryn Reiss

Age Range: 12 - 16

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-15-205479-0
Publisher: Harcourt

Sometimes being pleasant and predictable is a good thing. Mystery fans will enjoy this well-plotted story, which packs budding romance, family problems, amnesia, international travel and murder into a few short days in the lives of American adoptee Juliana Martin-Drake, her mother and her two younger siblings. The family has temporarily moved to a small village in England so that Mrs. Martin-Drake can rekindle her career as an artist and decide whether to remain in her marriage. Juliana just wants to go home. When her mother’s friend, a woman universally despised, is found dead, Juliana investigates, subsequently finding herself in danger. Although coincidence plays a strong role in her discoveries, none of the action is either out of place or impossible to imagine. In the process of unraveling the mystery, Juliana recovers her memories of the death of her birth mother. Although Reiss’s repeated message that adoptive families are no less real than biological ones occasionally seems heavy-handed, in general she melds the various elements of her plot skillfully enough to carry readers along smoothly. (Fiction. 12-16)