|Tru & Nelle|
Author: Neri, Greg
In their small town of Monroeville, Alabama, in 1930, misfits Tru and Nelle strike up a friendship and find a mystery to solve when someone breaks into the drugstore and steals some candy and a fancy brooch.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 180420
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 66432
Kirkus Reviews (+) (12/15/15)
School Library Journal (10/01/15)
Booklist (+) (01/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (04/16)
The Hornbook (00/05/16)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 10/01/2015 Gr 4–7—Middle grade readers—even those not yet familiar with the names Truman Capote or Harper Lee—will be delighted with this romp through 1930s Monroeville, AL. Neri has pulled real events from the lives of Tru and Nelle and has woven them into a fictional work that takes readers through the pair's first meeting, their efforts in solving a small-town mystery, and their face-to-face encounter with the Ku Klux Klan. Tru's parents leave him with distant cousins when he is seven years old. It is then that he meets a young Nelle, who lives next door. Both children have difficulty fitting in with their peers and become fast friends. They both have a keen sense of drama and a need to find adventure, even in their sleepy little town. They soon find themselves in one predicament after another, caught up in a local mystery that lands them in some real trouble. This story is heartwarming, funny, and beautifully crafted; readers will be sucked in from the very first chapter. VERDICT A charming addition to fiction collections, especially where readers enjoy historical fiction with a large dose of mystery, adventure, and heart.—Elizabeth Kahn, Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy, Jefferson, LA - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 01/01/2016 *Starred Review* In a bold but rewarding gambit, Neri imagines the childhood friendship of Harper Lee and Truman Capote, sprinkling in bits of To Kill a Mockingbird and foreshadowing such adult events as their collaborative work on In Cold Blood—yet still making it entirely Neri’s own. Tru meets Nelle when he is seven and she is six (even though they’re bright eccentrics, they never seem that young). The little fabulist has come to Monroeville, Alabama, essentially left by estranged parents to live with distant relatives. Tomboy Nelle, a lawyer’s daughter, first doesn’t know what to make of the wispy boy in white linen suits, but soon they are bonded by their love of words and adventure. Their fascination with Sherlock Holmes propels them to solve their own mystery, bringing them more than they bargained for, including a run-in with the Ku Klux Klan. Though the mystery is good, it’s the children’s symbiotic relationship that holds center stage. Neri doesn’t shy away from their attributes: Nelle can be a bully, and Tru is seen as a “sissy.” But their ability to play to each other’s strengths compensates for any real or perceived weaknesses as they rope others into their fantastic plans. As Neri puts it, “They made for a perfect pair of misfits. . . . And that was okay.” Readers will find it more than okay. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 04/01/2016 Tru is young Truman Capote (then Truman Persons) and Nelle is young Harper Lee in this fictionalized tale of the two authors’ childhood friendship in Depression-era Monroeville, Alabama. The book follows the two young outsiders (Tru is a primary-school dandy, Nelle a determined tomboy) through their bonding over their shared love of reading, their wannabe Holmesian adventures that lead them to encounter reclusive teen Sonny Boular (the model for Boo Radley), and their troublemaking antics, which included a well-intentioned but disastrous carnival. Mostly, though, it’s the story of Tru, with Nelle his occasional companion, as he desperately longs for his selfish parents to want him and also desperately longs for the loving stability he has found with his relations in Monroeville. The events vary from light-hearted hijinks to more serious run-ins with the Klan, and there’s entertainment in the depiction of two creative youngsters high-tailing it around town without adult supervision or concern; Tru’s underlying sadness is also honestly conveyed. The expository prose is sometimes flat, but the dialogue is lively, and readers who’ve seen staged versions of A Christmas Memory will enjoy diving more deeply into that world. There’s also solid curricular potential here in a historical unit or a discussion of writers and writing, and the picture of the talented but questioning Tru will resonate with readers who appreciate Kate DiCamillo’s works. A substantial note concludes the book, and several additional stories, written as if by the young Tru and Nelle, are appended. DS - Copyright 2016 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.