SMALL BONES by Vicki Grant


From the "Secrets" series
Age Range: 12 - 16
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In a witty and believable 1964 Ontario, a foundling teen investigates the circumstances of her own birth.

Sixteen-year-old Dorothy "Dot" Blythe knows she'd been found at the Benevolent Home for Necessitous Girls. What she hadn't known is that she'd been a premature infant no bigger than a woman's hand, wrapped in a coat from a shop in the town of Buckminster, bundled up with a sterling-silver mustard spoon. When the Benevolent Home burns down, the matron kindly packs Dot off to Buckminster, the coat and spoon her only guides to her past. Though Dot can't find her parents anywhere, she does find a job as a seamstress—and a lot of secretive townsfolk. It seems that the town's sordid past might be tied to Dot's own, so she enlists the help of a flirtatious townie and aspiring journalist to ferret out Buckminster's secrets. Oddly enough, several older locals react strangely when they first meet Dot. The novel has an eerie, slow build, with a sense of danger increasing with each secret unearthed, but it collapses into a dissatisfyingly simple and light revelation. Nonetheless, this mystery stimulates while showcasing its mid-20th-century Canadian setting. Buckminster teen life in 1964 includes drinking, sex, and "lighting farts on fire," challenging simplistic interpretations of the Donna Reed era.

Clues come at just the right pace for the readers to crack the puzzle right along with the protagonist in this mystery, one of seven linked novels publishing simultaneously. (Historical mystery. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4598-0653-5
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Orca
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2015


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