So. Here it is. My summer journal. As you can see, I got a little carried away. The problem is this, though. I don't want you to read it. I really mean it. I just wanted you to know I did it. I didn't want you to think I was one of those kids who says, 'Oh yeah, I did it, but I lost it/my dog ate it/my little brother dropped it in the toilet.' But ...Read MoreSo. Here it is. My summer journal. As you can see, I got a little carried away. The problem is this, though. I don't want you to read it. I really mean it. I just wanted you to know I did it. I didn't want you to think I was one of those kids who says, 'Oh yeah, I did it, but I lost it/my dog ate it/my little brother dropped it in the toilet.' But please, PLEEASE DON'T READ IT! How was I to know all this stuff was going to happen to me this summer? Mary Lou has what she calls a normally-strange family. That is, until her cousin Carl comes to stay. She had plans to enjoy the summer hanging out with her first ever crush, but there's something so quiet and sad about Carl, and Mary Lou knows that no one else in her chaotic home will bother to find out why. So it looks like it's up to her -- and what she discovers is far from normal and rocks the family to its heart.Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 1995-08-14 In what by now must be a subgenre in YA fiction-the novel cast as a journal written for an English assignment-Newbery Medalist Creech (Walk Two Moons) spins an affable if formulaic tale about one pivotal summer. Narrator Mary Lou, 13, the second of the five Finney children, is quite put out when she has to play maid for her uncommunicative cousin Carl Ray, 17, who comes to stay while he looks for a job. He gets one, to Mary Lou's surprise, at the hardware store owned by their new neighbor Mr. Furtz, who shortly afterward dies of a heart attack. Not only does Carl Ray remain in his new job, but an anonymous benefactor leaves him money-just like in Great Expectations, as Mary Lou points out. There the resemblance to Dickens ends: the astute reader will early on figure out the mystery behind Carl Ray's inheritance. Mary Lou is also slow to pick up clues about why her cute classmate Alex is always hanging around. Despite the occasionally creaky plot, Mary Lou's bouncy entries are still a lot of fun. Readers will enjoy her wry commentary on The Odyssey (on the school reading list), and girls especially will identify with Mary Lou's disgust at the giddy behavior of boy-crazy best friend Beth Ann and her own giggly rhapsodies on her first romance (``I am sooooo happeeeeee I can hardly stand it!''). Ages 10-14. (Sept.)
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