FINDING ZOLA by Marianne Mitchell


Age Range: 10 - 12
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Intriguing clues and danger signs abound in a mystery in which a strong, upbeat teenager has every reason to be down, but pushes through her mourning and guilt to detect her way through to the finish. An invisible threat lurks in the small retirement community where 13-year-old Crystal and her mother are lovingly saying goodbye in their hearts to their beloved Gram, who has passed away. But there is much more on Crystal’s mind than sorting through and boxing up belongings, so she is not aware of a hidden menace; her nightmares point to her as the one responsible for the car accident in which her father died and she lost the use of her legs. Unexpectedly, a welcome opportunity for a prestigious art show comes to Crystal’s mother, a prospect beneficial to their household’s struggling financial situation, but leaving Crystal in the care of a neighbor, Zola, and an older cousin just at the peril’s peak. Zola suddenly disappears on the day she is to take responsibility for Crystal’s care, and the various normal explanations for Zola’s disappearance that Mitchell (Gullywasher Gulch, 2002, etc.) makes probable, intensify the plot. The balance between the emotional upheavals, attempts to carry on good lives, the inevitable guilt, and the process of growing up intertwines with the mystery of Zola’s safety and whereabouts. Crystal’s efforts in finding the truth about Zola become self-restoring, but are far riskier than either she or her cousin feared. Run-of-the-mill mystery writing for fans of the simple solution. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-59078-070-1
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Boyds Mills
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2003


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