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|Confusion is nothing new|
Author: Acampora, Paul
Fourteen-year-old Ellie Magari's mother left shortly after Ellie was born, and her father has raised her, but Ellie always figured that one day she would meet her mother and ask her some pertinent questions--but now her mother has died, and Ellie does not know exactly how to feel about that, but she is determined, with the help of her friends in the St. Francis of Assisi's Howling Wolves marching band (where she plays the glockenspiel), to make some kind of connection with her mother's memory.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 5.0 Quiz: 198760
Kirkus Reviews (03/15/18)
School Library Journal (04/01/18)
The Hornbook (00/07/18)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 04/01/2018 Gr 5–7—A tribute to family, friends, and Cyndi Lauper, this is a story of a young girl's search for answers and her journey towards a deeper appreciation of the people who love her. Fourteen-year-old white American Ellie Magari has never known her mother, who left the family soon after Ellie's birth. Although Ellie's father appears to be satisfied with their long-time understanding that they do not discuss Wilma "Korky" Korkenderfer, Ellie wants to know more. When she learns that her mother has died, her questions become more urgent; luckily for Ellie, there are people around her who may have some answers. Her closest friends, Daniel, who walks with a limp due to a mild form of cerebral palsy, and Anya, who is a biracial adoptee, are empathetic to Ellie's need to know more about her biological mother and eagerly help her solve the puzzle of Korky's life. She is close to her school principal, Sister Stephanie, who knew Korky when they were both teenagers. There's also Mr. Leary, Sister Stephanie's brother, who becomes the director of the St. Francis Marching Band of which Ellie and Daniel are enthusiastic members. Mr. Leary, in scenes reminiscent of School of Rock, turns out to be a treasure trove of information about Cyndi Lauper and U2, among other 80s rock groups, but more importantly, he is someone who leads Ellie to answers and acceptance. VERDICT Filled with references to 80s pop music, Acampora's fast-paced and entertaining novel will satisfy lovers of family stories that have a touch of mystery.—Shelley Sommer, Inly School, Scituate, MA - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 04/15/2018 Fourteen years ago, Ellie’s mother left her husband and her baby, never to return. Now in high school, Ellie knows little about her mother, but upon hearing of her death, she’s curious. Ellie’s relationship with her steadfast, obstinate father is her bedrock, but Dad never willingly talks about the woman who abandoned them. And Ellie’s angry with him anyway for not giving a box of Mom-related memorabilia, compact discs, and cassettes to her earlier. Ellie’s friends help her find out more about her past and contact members of her mother’s Cyndi Lauper tribute band. Music is woven into the story, from Ellie’s marching band’s traditional numbers in the opening chapter to the ’80s songs they play “around the cemetery like a New Orleans funeral parade” when her mother’s ashes are buried. Two things make the novel more enjoyable than its basic framework might suggest: the many idiosyncratic characters who bring the story to life and the irrepressible humor, which is unexpected, often droll, and sometimes laugh-aloud funny. A satisfying novel of loss, change, and renewal. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.