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Author: Tarpley, Natasha
Seventh-graders Jin, Alexandra, and Elvin come from very different backgrounds and circumstances, but they all live in Harlem, and when Elvin's grandfather is attacked they band together to find out who is responsible--and the search leads them to an enigmatic artist whose missing masterpieces are worth a fortune, and into conflict with an ambitious politician who wants to turn Harlem into an historic amusement park.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 187911
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 69775
Kirkus Reviews (+) (10/15/16)
School Library Journal (11/01/16)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 11/01/2016 Gr 4–6—What makes a community? What role does the past play in our present and future? These are the overarching questions posed in this Harlem-set mystery with its cast of three disparate seventh graders. Jin, who lives with her grandparents and helps run their bodega, is a keen observer of human nature and records all in her ever-present notebook. Alex, an extremely wealthy girl, spends her free time trying to help the disadvantaged, while being rude and abrasive to her fellow classmates. Elvin, who becomes the linchpin of the trio, has just arrived in Harlem to live with his estranged grandfather. When disaster strikes and his grandfather is brutally attacked, Elvin becomes homeless and the girls swoop in as caretakers. As the three begin to investigate the assault, they learn of a fascinating chapter in the Harlem art scene that has far-reaching ramifications for the present. The author's note will be helpful in classroom discussions and may prompt further reading. VERDICT Exploring themes such as art, social justice, and the corporatization of historic settings, this selection will have strong regional appeal and will interest those who enjoyed Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer.—Amy Nolan, St. Joseph Public Library, MI - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 12/01/2016 The many worlds of Harlem come together in this exciting, mysterious story of art and adventure. Korean American Jin spends her time staring out the window of the bodega belonging to her halmoni (grandmother) and haraboji (grandfather). Alexandra is determined to use her family’s wealth to help improve the lives of everyone in her neighborhood. And Elvin, new to New York City, finds himself barely scraping by on the streets, utterly alone and locked out of his apartment after his grandfather is mysteriously attacked. When these three friends come together to solve the mystery of Elvin’s grandfather, they instead find themselves thrust into the story of an enigmatic artist whose recently unearthed painting may be the key to saving their entire community. The novel’s inner-city setting is masterful, and readers will quickly connect the glory and the struggles of the Harlem Renaissance to the Harlem of the present. With a diverse cast of characters, Tarpley’s story is a warm and endearing portrayal of the ways a community brings people together, and the power of art to endure and inspire. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.