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Author: Frederick, Heather Vogel
Book 1--Twelve-year-old Truly Lovejoy's family moves to a small town to take over a bookstore. Soon, she has to solve two mysteries involving a missing book and an undelivered letter.
Pumpkin Falls Mystery, 1
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 170878
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 16.0 Quiz: 63968
Kirkus Reviews (09/15/14)
School Library Journal (09/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (01/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 09/01/2014 Gr 4–6—Fans of the author's "Mother-Daughter Book Club" books (S. & S.) will rejoice for a new series with a similarly cozy New England setting, great characters, and literary references to beloved classics. Shortly after winter break, Truly Lovejoy finds herself at yet another school, in another state. The middle child of five, things haven't been the same in her family since "Black Monday" when her usually good-humored father was injured during his last tour in Afghanistan, losing an arm. Having to adjust to what this means for her father's career, the family finds themselves in his hometown—Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire—so that he and Truly's aunt can take over the family bookstore. The mystery begins when Truly finds a note tucked inside a signed, first edition copy of Charlotte's Web, which sends the protagonist and her new friends on a treasure hunt through town. Though this story really pushes the "middle school private eye" trope, the mystery is not the driving force; other plot lines carry the story. Readers will relish meeting the town's diverse community of characters, exploring Truly's now tenuous relationship with her father who is struggling with PTSD, and the plight to save the bookstore from imminent ruin. The book is laden with bookish references, such as Jane Yolen's Owl Moon, that will delight young bibliophiles as they curl up and enjoy the quaint town of Pumpkin Falls.—Danielle Jones, Multnomah County Library, OR - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 11/01/2014 Truly Lovejoy’s dad loses his arm while piloting helicopters in Afghanistan, and now her whole life is in disarray. Instead of living in sunny Austin near her best friend, she, along with her parents and four siblings, has to move to sleepy Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire, where her dad will try to save his parents’ struggling bookstore. She feels terribly awkward and out of place—especially because at almost six feet tall, she towers over the rest of her seventh-grade class—but when she discovers an enigmatic letter tucked in a signed first edition of Charlotte’s Web (a treasure that could easily solve the bookstore’s financial woes), she follows the clues to uncover a 20-year-old secret and makes new friends along the way. Frederick’s idyllic small town is charming as all get-out, and its residents are a quirky bunch to boot. Strung through the odd, small-town antics, however, is Truly’s struggle to reconnect with her dad, who is withdrawn and angry after his life-altering accident. A cozy tale touched with meaningful, heartening realism. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 01/01/2015 Twelve years old and six feet tall, Truly Lovejoy finds it difficult to blend in with the crowd in the small town of Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire, where she and her family have moved to be near Truly’s grandparents after Truly’s wounded father returned from Afghanistan. Helping out at the family bookstore, Truly finds a mysterious letter in a first edition of Charlotte’s Web, which is then stolen; Truly decides to investigate, since the sale of the first edition could ease the financial woes that threaten to close the bookstore’s doors and eliminate her father’s only real job prospect. The cozy setting, with its covered bridges, waterfalls, and pleasingly eccentric cast of residents, lends an appealing backdrop to this gentle mystery/family drama, as even the somewhat cynical Truly comes to discover the pleasures of small-town living. The two mysteries, that of the book’s theft and the writing of the letter hidden within it, aren’t necessarily imperative or urgent (it’s clear that Truly’s father and his sister will figure something out financially), but they effectively scaffold Truly’s emotional issues of finding her place in her new town and negotiating the shifting family dynamics as her dad recovers. The Lovejoy brood, which includes Truly and her four siblings, a harried but loving mother, a mopey dog, and a quirky aunt, is one of those big families that manage just the right balance of teasing, realistic arguing, and good humor. Fans of Birdsall’s The Penderwicks (BCCB 9/05) will find this a warm, charming readalike. KQG - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.