The Misfits, Totally Joe, and Addie on the Inside by James Howe

The Misfits, Totally Joe, and Addie on the Inside by James Howe

The Misfits and Totally Joe are both great novels, but in Addie on the Inside, James Howe has surpassed himself! These books are not sequels but rather companion books that enable us to know more about the characters and the events that shaped them.
I brought The Misfits into the library a number of years ago because I was fed up with hearing "that's so gay", or "you're so gay" used as insults.  I thought that if students had some connection with someone who is gay, even if it was through literature, it might change their attitude.  Of course just bringing this book into the school hasn't been all that has happened since then, but I am happy to say that I rarely hear that kind of name calling these days.

The Misfits is the story of four middle school kids who call themselves the gang of five. Bobby is chubby. Addie is tall and very smart. Joe is gay. Skeezie is a born again Elvis. None of them fit in with the regular school population and have to deal with teasing and harassment because of who they are. They create their own political organization, the No Name Party, for the grade 7 elections. Its purpose it to put an end to name-calling.
Misfits is narrated through the eyes of Bobby. It is hilarious, honest and painful. While the political machinations play a significant part of the story, it is also the story of a boy trying to make sense of what is going on around him.  Bobby is close to his father since his mom died when he was eight. Her death has left its own kinds of scars on both of them. in this book Bobby grows and matures.  He enters into his first romantic relationship. Eventually Bobby surprises us and himself with his own passion and confidence.

Totally Joe, written as an ‘alphabiography,’ is Joe’s interpretation of the events of the year. At times Joe struggles with being a boy, yet not a boy boy like his brother, Jeff. However, most of the time he is a confident character full of energy and optimism. We get to know Joe as he embraces the joy and heartache of his first romance. We are there with him as he tries to deal with ongoing homophobic harassment.  There are some who think Joe’s story of coming out and acceptance by his friends and family is idealistic.

I think it is about possibility and what should be.

And now the long awaited story of Addie has arrived! About all I can really think to say is WOW! Misfits was written in a relatively classic novel style, then Joe’s story was in a journal format, and Addie’s perspective is revealed through poetry.
In Addie on the Inside, James Howe has done a wonderful job illuminating the girl behind the girl we read about in the first two books. Addie is strong, outspoken, and confident on the outside, but behind the scenes is a girl struggling with some of the usual teenage angst - body image, peer pressure, and her first romance. Yet there is much more to Addie than that. She worries about the state of the world: global warming, homelessness, poverty, war, and “how in the world the world will ever be okay.” Not only does Addie worry, she has the courage to do something to change the way things are.

While the other books focus more on the male protagonists, in this one, the actuality of how girls bully and harass one another is exposed. In spite of everything she has to deal with, Addie remains smart, sensitive, and secure in who she is.

I Am Who I Say I Am

“I am a girl who is growing up
in my own sweet time,
I am a girl who knows enough
to know this life is mine.

I’m a worrier, I’m a warrior,
I’m a loner and a friend,
I’m an outspoken defender
of justice to the end

I’m the girl in the mirror
who likes the girl she sees,…” page 201

Now I guess we just have to wait for Skeezie’s take on things.

Little Brother

by Cory Doctorow

I read a lot of young adult fiction these days. Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow, is one of the reasons.

It’s one of the most powerful books I have read in a long time, but it isn’t an easy book to digest. It is definitely Orwellian. Readers into cyberpunk and futuristic dystopian novels will love it.

Marcus Yallow, a smart, tech savy 17 year old is used to doing pretty much whatever he wants. Then one day he and his high school friends are out tracking down clues for an online game when terrorists blow up the Bay Bridge. In the immediate aftermath they are abducted by homeland security. No one knows their whereabouts while they are held prisoners, interrogated, tortured, and forced to give up their privacy and reveal all their secrets. When they are released, they are told to keep what happened to them a secret, or else.

Daryl, Marcus’ best friend, doesn’t come home.

As the power of homeland security increases, democracy disappears. San Francisco and California turn into a police state. Civil liberties are increasingly eroded. Individuals are tracked electronically, then stopped and searched for veering out of their routines.

Marcus and a group of tech savvy friends rebel. Through use of futuristic technology known as the X-box and paranoid lynix, they come up with ways to disrupt the power of homeland security.

Against this backdrop of intrigue and rebellion, Marcus meets a girl, Ange, and falls in love. As the story evolves he becomes a significant youth leader and is forced to deal with the ramifications of his power, actions and influence over others.

They are careful and think they are safe. Homeland security is already on to them.

Terrifying, suspenseful, and ominous, this is an exciting read, and educational as well. Doctorow explains how technology works in meaningful ways within the context of the story. I learned a lot about encryption, programming and the mathematics behind it all.

It is one of those books for the grade 7 shelf, and even then, I would probably be very cautious about who I recommend it too. I would give this book to Raphael and Harit to read if they were still students at the school. They reminded me that a truly engaging book that deals with important issues can be hard to read on an emotional level, but is still the best kind of book to read.

I listened to this book as a free audiobook from sync audio, but you can download the ebook here for free.
Behemoth (Leviathan, #2)Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

If you have not read any Steam Punk yet, then start with Scott Westerfeld's Leviathon Trilogy.  It perfectly exemplifies the genre.  The only problem is that you may never be satisfied with anything else after this.

I would never have expected to be so captivated by any book about war and adventure, and yet, here I am, just finished off the second in the series and anxiously awaiting for my hold on Goliath to come in.

I just love so much about these books - the machines, the creatures, the history, the characters, the action. Scott Westerfeld has an amazing brain.

View all my reviews

Zoobreak by Gordon Korman (Red Cedar Book)

Zoobreak by Gordon Korman

Zoobreak is a delightful madcap romp. The group of friends from the first book, Swindle, are back again in another hilarious adventure.

In this one, Savannah’s capuchin monkey, Cleopatra, is missing and both she and her dog, Luthor, are devastated. Then on a school field trip to a floating zoo, Savannah finds Cleo trapped in a cage. Like the rest of the zoos inhabitants, Cleo’s surroundings are miserable. Savannah and her parents go through the usual legal channels, but are unable to get Cleopatra back.

Savannah is so distraught that Griffin is forced to come up with a plan to rescue Cleopatra. Each of the friends’ special talents is utilized. There are a few glitches along the way, but they make it to the zoo and manage to rescue Cleopatra. However, this is where things go awry. Savannah insists that they can’t leave the rest of the creatures in such pathetic conditions, and they end up liberating the entire zoo.

It goes from bad to worse. What do you do with 40 zoo animals? How do you hide them?

Griffin has to come up with another plan fast before the police, or even worse, the evil zoo owner, find out who they are.

It’s a wacky and delightful. I like that it is part of a series, but you don’t have to have read the first book first. It is satisfying all by itself.

This is a book for people of all ages who are looking for a fun filled plot to keep them entertained and laughing.

Wanting Mor by Rukhsana Khan (Red Cedar Book)

Wanting Mor by Rukhsana Khan

“If you can’t be beautiful, you should at least be good.” These are the words that Jameela, a young girl living in Afghanistan after the American invasion, carries with her long after her mother has gone. When her mother dies, her drug addicted and abusive father takes her away from their small village to the city of Kabul.

At first they lived in a home where Jameela was treated as a servant. Then her father disgraced himself and they were forced to leave. Then he remarried. At first, Jameela looked forward to being part of a family again. Unfortunately, her stepbrother was a good person, but her stepmother was not. First she treated Jameela as a slave. Eventually she convinced Jameela’s father to take Jameela to the market and abandon her.

Thanks to the kindness of a shopkeeper, Jameela ended up in an orphanage. Incredible as it may seem, this ends up being a very good thing. In the orphanage Jameela goes to school, learns to read, makes friends, and has surgery to repair a cleft palette.

Through it all Jameela struggles to live up to her mother’s ideal and be good. Eventually she grows into a strong independent person who realizes that she must take charge of her own life.

Based on the true story of a girl who ended up living in an orphanage sponsored by the author, this book is well written and engaging. I was drawn into the story from the first paragraph and remained completely engaged till the end. Jameela is the kind of character you can’t help but like, admire, and feel compassion for.

Walking Backward by Catherine Austin (Red Cedar Book)

Walking Backward by Catherine Austin

Josh’s mother had ophidiophobia – a terror of snakes. One summer day a snake slithered out from under her car seat. She panicked, lost control of the car, crashed into a tree, and died.

This is the story of Josh, a twelve year old boy, his four year old brother, and their father as they struggle to make sense of her death. Their psychiatrist gives them journals where they record their thoughts and feelings. This is Josh’s journal.
They cope in their own ways. Josh, a very smart kid, researches death rituals across different cultures and religions. He studies phobias. He also spends a lot of time trying to figure out how the snake got into the car. Was it put there deliberately? Was it an accident?
His father seems to have abandoned the boys. He spends time in the basement trying to build a time machine so that he can go back in time and remove the snake from the car.
This leaves Josh with the responsibility for the care of his little brother, Sammy. Sammy sleeps with Josh every night and continues to have conversations with their mother through a girl power ranger doll.
Eventually Josh and Sammy create a memory scrapbook of their mother so that they won’t forget her as they get older.
In spite of the heartbreaking topic, this book is full of many funny moments and some really great jokes. I resisted picking it up because of the topic, but once I started reading it I loved it. I loved the characters. I cried. I laughed. I couldn’t put the book down once I started. This was a very satisfying read.

A Desperate Road to Freedom: the Underground Railroad Diary of Julia May Jackson (Red Cedar Club Book)

A Desperate Road to Freedom: the Underground Railroad Diary of Julia May Jackson by Karleen Bradford

Julia May Jackson was born a slave in Virginia just before the American Civil War.  She is servant and companion to the masters daughter and unbeknownst to anyone, has learned to read and write. Her three older siblings have been sold, and there are rumors that her older brother, Thomas, will soon be next.  Late one dark night her parents wake her, tell her to grab her things and keep quiet.  It is the beginning of the family’s journey along the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada.  Julia May keeps a journal of their experiences – a journal that could cause serious repercussions should it fall into the wrong hands.

This book had a strong beginning that grabbed my attention and pulled me into the story.  Julia May is a spunky spirited girl who I liked a lot.  I desperately wanted her family’s journey to be successful. They make it to Toronto, but while free, are still in danger of being kidnapped by slave hunters.  Eventually they move to Owen Sound where they put down roots. 

I really liked how this book portrayed history in an exciting format.  I knew something about the underground railway of course, but this book helps us to understand more about what it was like once these people made it to Canada.  They may have been ‘free,’ but they still faced considerable prejudice once they arrived. 

This is a great addition to the Dear Canada series!

What Happened to Harris Burdick?

I know, I know, I should probably be doing another Red Cedar Club review since we are starting next week.

It's just that I am just so excited about getting my ticket to see Chris Van Allsburg on November 9th! Chris Van Allsburg is an amazing author and illustrator! His many books appeal to children of all ages from 3 to 93. I first came to know his work many years ago when our family woke up one Christmas Eve morning to discover that Santa had brought our family an early gift of The Polar Express. (In my opinion the book is much much better than the movie ever was!) Over the years Van Allsburg has written many provoking tales including, Jumanji, (also a movie) Just a Dream, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, The Sweetest Fig, and many others, but most recently Queen of the Falls. However, his most perplexing tale was The Mysteries of Harris Burdick!

What has got me so excited is that on the 9th, I will finally get to find out what happened to Harris Burdick. For those of you who don't know the story, Burdick delivered a set of images and captions to a publisher. The publisher was very interested and asked Burdick to come back the next day. Unfortunately, Burdick never returned. The publisher, Peter Wenders, told Van Allsburg about it and in turn Van Allsburg told the story in his book, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.

If you have never heard this story, we do have one copy in the library, and I personally have a collection of the pictures that I will happily share with you.

It seems that on the 9th, the mystery of the stories will finally be revealed! Lemony Snicket, renowned author of A Series of Unfortunate Events, (also turned into a movie) has attempted to figure it out himself. If you are interested in finding out more about Harris Burdock, I recently discovered a website called The Chronicles of Harris Burdick. I urge you to check it out and watch the documentary created by Snicket himself.

If you you are interested in seeing the great man himself, you should contact Vancouver Kidsbooks as soon as possible before tickets sell out.

After the Fire (Red Cedar Book)

After the Fire by Becky Citra
If you like realistic fiction, you will like this book.

I am a fan of Becky Citra’s writing so I knew I would end up enjoying this book. Still at first I wasn’t sure if it was going to work for me. Thankfully, it didn’t take long til I was completely captivated. So much so that I read this book while walking to and from school. In fact while reading on the bus I missed my stop and had to walk back. (Of course I read while I walked back to my stop!)

It is the story of 11 year old Melissa, her little brother, Cody, and their mother, Sharlene. Sharlene has not been the best mother, but is trying to turn her life around. Melissa doesn’t trust her. She has been let down too many times before. She wants to go to art camp, but Sharlene intends to take the family on a month long summer vacation to a remote cabin on a lake. Melissa is a shy loner who has never had a friend. Her mother is an exuberant extrovert who makes friends of nearly everyone. There is tension between them. Will Melissa ever forgive her mother?

Melissa doesn’t want to go, but really has no choice. At the lake, she meets a girl named Alice. Alice becomes Melissa's first best friend. In their time at Dar Wynd, an island in the lake, she encourages Melissa to be braver and to take risks. Alice seems to enjoy Melissa's less than perfect family. Melissa wishes she could have Alice's life, but Alice has secrets of her own and is not quite what she seems.

You will have to read the book to find out how it ends, but I will tell you that I came to care for all the characters and was very satisfied by this book. It is a fine story about friendship, family, and overcoming tragedy. Becky Citra didn’t let me down.

Choosing my favourite red cedar club is going to be very hard this year. They are all turning out to be great reads!

Rex Zero and the Great Pretender (Red Cedar Book)

Rex Zero and the Great Pretender by Tim Wynne Jones

This is another Red Cedar book for this year.

I wasn’t really sure about this book at first. Rex starts out doing something that I knew was going to get him in trouble. That is the problem with being a grown up reading children’s books. You see the consequences and cringe – either that or you worry yourself silly over the mess these characters can get themselves into.

Thankfully, by the time I finished this book, I loved it and remembered how much I liked the first book in the series.

The Rex series is set in the 1960’s in Ottawa. While I am sure kids won’t always get the references to pop culture icons like Paul Anka, it does reveal what life was like in those times.

Rex has moved 8 times in his 12 years. In this tale, he and his family are moving again. Only this time, it is just across town, and Rex decides he doesn’t want to move schools. The family moves in the summer and his transcripts are already sent to the new school, so Rex decides to lie to his parents, and go where he can be with his friends. His life gets very complicated as he pretends to go to his new school, but instead scrounges money to takes the two buses every day to and from school across town. To make his life even more difficult, the school bully has it in for him.

At home, where Rex is one of eight children, life is crazy. His sister Annie is dealing with problems of her own and mixing up evil concoctions in the garage. His mother has taken to smoking in the garden.

I’m not going to spoil the story for you, but before it all over, Rex ends up having to go to his new school, makes peace (more or less) with the bully, and eventually, realizes how lucky he is to be in the family he is in.

Here are some fabulous new picture books we have in the library.

These Hands written by Margaret H. Mason, illustrated by Floyd Cooper

At first this seems to be just the story of a boy and his grandfather. Then it becomes the story of the Wonder Bread Bakery, the union movement, and black people’s struggle for fair treatment. It is beautifully illustrated and powerful in both images and words. It ends perfectly with Joseph showing what his hands can do and Grandpa responding with. “Look at those hands. Those hands can do anything. Anything at all in this whole wide world. Yes, you can.”

Splish Splash Splat! by Rob Scotton

Splat is back in this story of learning how to swim. All the children in his class get into the pool except Scat and Spike. At first “Splat couldn’t keep quiet any longer. 'Water is horrible!’ her blurted, hiding behind Spike. ‘Yes… yes, it’s horrible' said spike, hiding behind Splat. Water is scary … and wet!’ they cried together.“ Eventually they find the courage to get into the water and discover that water is not so horrible after all. When Spike comes over to play afterwards, Splat finds out that Spike isn’t such a bad friend after all.

Check out the free online version here.

Honey Bee Man written by Lela Nargi, illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker
Fred has a secret city of bees on the top of his apartment building. They are like a family to him. He loves his hives and imagines the life of his bees as they travel the city in search of pollen. He encourages the young ones on their first flight and welcomes them all home at the end of the day. Based on the true story of John Howe, founder of NYC Beekeeping , It is a delightful book full of all kinds of facts about bees and how honey is made and harvested.

The Only Boy in Ballet Class written by Denise Gruska, illustrated by Amy Wummer

Tucker Dohr loves to dance. He dances his way through his day, “leaping over marbles the cat, … and spin(ing) past his tricky, tricky twin sisters. Unfortunately it isn’t easy being a boy who loves ballet. He gets teased by the other boys who taunt him and jeer “Where’s your tutu? Dancing is for girls!” Even his “Uncle Frank shakes his head, looks at Tucker’s mother, and says, “You ought to put that boy in football.” Eventually Tucker gets a chance to show them all that ballet isn’t just for girls.
You can find out more about the author and the book here.

Tutu’s Aren’t My Style by Linda Skeers

Emma’s uncle sends her a ballerina suit. It isn’t exactly an Emma kind of outfit. She would rather be “catching frogs, roping the cat or digging for pirate treasure.” She gets advice from the mailman, Mrs Giukin, and her brother about how to dance. When she tries to follow their rules, she ends up falling in the petunia patch, the birdbath, and tripping over the garden gnome. Eventually she follows her own rules about dancing and figures out that she can be a ballerina in her own way.

Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg

I bet when you hear the word daredevil, you don't think of a plump 62 year old woman teacher. This is the fascinating, true story of Annie Edson Taylor who was the first person to go over Niagra Falls in a barrel. At the age of 62, with no means to support herself, Annie knew she would have to do something spectacular to make money, or she would end up in the poorhouse. She decided that if she survived she would become rich and famous. It wasn’t easy to convince people to help her, but she persevered, and to this day, is still the only woman to go over the falls by herself. Chris Van Allsburg has done a beautiful job telling her story. You can see him talking about this book here.

Ida B

Ida B . . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World by Katherine Hannigan

If Ida B is any indicator, Katherine Hannigan is a writer to keep track of. You will want to read anything she writes once you have finished this one.

I confess that if a book can make me cry, I consider it a great book. In this regard, Ida B is a great read.

Ida B Applewood is a character you soon learn to love. She believes there is never enough time for fun. She has spunk, determination, and imagination. She’s smart in some ways and not so smart in others. I was completely caught up in her thoughts and emotions.

After a disastrous few weeks in kindergarten, Ida B has been home schooled. Her life on the land with her father and mother is idyllic. She talks to the trees and creek and they seem to talk back to her.

One day they tell her that a storm is brewing and there will be trouble ahead. Unfortunately the weekend storm is only the beginning of her problems. Her mother is diagnosed with cancer and they have to sell off part of their land to pay for the medical bills and Ida B has to start going to public school.

Upon hearing this, Ida B’s heart was transformed. It became a “sharp, black stone that was small enough to fit into the palm of (her) hand. It was so hard nobody could break it and so sharp it would hurt anybody who touched it.” In her anger and pain she is determined to hate everything but most especially school and her parents. In the end, she ends up doing something that she regrets.

Her teacher, Mrs. Washington, is the kind of teacher we all wish we could be. She perseveres until Ida B eventually talks to her and along with the love of her parents, begins to heal.

I would give this book to anyone who is a fan of Kate Dicamillo, Phoebe Stone, or Deborah Wiles.

Faery Rebels (Red Cedar Book)

Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter by R.J. Anderson

Like my last review, this is another Red Cedar nominated book.

After reading this one, I desperately wanted to believe in faeries.

A community of them lives in the Oakenwyld, an ancient oak tree in the yard next to a human house. The Oakenwyld is in serious trouble. Life is harsh. Ages ago the faeries lost their magic and are being struck down by a disease called the silence. Faeries must bargain with each other for what they need. Friendship, caring and love seem to be unheard of. How this sundering came to be, or if there is anyway to undo it is a mystery.

Knife, the heroine, is a strong resourceful character. She isn’t afraid to take risks, get into trouble, and is smart enough figure out how to save herself. She is determined to discover what caused the loss of magic and find a way to change things. To do this she must peel away the layers of secrecy shrouding the community. Knife has no idea who to trust, but has supporters she is unaware of. She is used to breaking all kinds of faery rules, but not even she can imagine the consequences when she forms a friendship with a human male.

It is beautifully written. Anderson drew me completely into the world of the wyld and it’s inhabitants. Perhaps because I grew up in a home with someone who used a wheel chair, I felt deep empathy for Paul (the human) and his family, but I think it was as much because of the way Anderson crafted the story and demonstrated the tensions in the relationships.

I also liked it because while it is the first in the faery rebel series, it is completely satisfying all by itself.

There is an element of love story in this book, but it is also a book full of adventure, suspense and mystery. I don’t know who wouldn’t enjoy it.

The Prince Of Neither Here Nor There (Red Cedar Book)

The Prince Of Neither Here Nor There
By Seán Cullen

This is the first book in the The Chronicles of the Misplaced Prince. Fans of the Hamish X series will be happy to find that the same narrator is recounting this tale of an exceptionally nerdy 14 year old boy at a school for nerds.

Brendan is a clumsy teenager who hangs around with his geeky friends and a much cooler girl named Kim. He thinks he is just a normal a kid whose worst problem is dealing with the school bully.

Then strange things start to happen.

First, Kim and the new substitute teacher seem to be more than they appear to be. At a concert, he gets so mesmerized by the music that his father and Kim have to remove before he jumps on the stage to start dancing. He has what he thinks are strange dreams and the next day begins to hear voices and ends up talking to animals. Of course he suspects he is going crazy.

Eventually he discovers that he is a Faerie who was disguised as a human at birth and hidden from the Faerie world. I did not spell that wrong. As the narrator explains, “This is a story about Faeries. Not Fairies. There’s a big difference and it isn’t just that one is spelled with an “e.” Fairies are ineffectual little things that flit about in children’s stories....” Brendan soon discovers that while these Faeries are magical, they are also dangerous and deadly. It doesn't take long before Brendan is caught up in a battle between good and evil that involves chases, battles, and all kinds of strange creatures.

Readers who love humor, fantasy and action packed adventure will enjoy this book. I can’t wait to get my hands on Book Two: The Prince of Two Tribes.

Deep Down Popular & The Romeo And Juliet Code

Phoebe Stone can write. I mean really write. Sometimes I have to shut the book, close my eyes, and savor a line or two. I loved Deep Down Popular and finally managed to find time reread it, as well as The Romeo and Juliet Code this summer.


I just finished rereading this one. It feels as powerful and true as it did the last time. It is a book about friendship, first love, and ultimately, about coming to terms with who you are.

It is the story of friendship between Jessie Lou Ferguson, Conrad Parker Smith, who she has adored since primary school, and Quentin Duster, a fourth grader.

I loved Jessie Lou. She is in grade 6, a tomboy who is anxious about fitting in and having friends, feels like an odd ball, and is not sure she likes herself.

Of course, just like Jessie Lou, I loved Conrad! He is smart, kind, and wise beyond his years. In Jessie's words, “In his heart he knows first isn’t touching a door knob, or getting to sit in the front row seat by the window, or making it up to the road before everybody else. First is something deep down inside you that you know and feel and nobody can take away from you” p 121.

Quentin Duster can be a bit of a pest, but the thing about him is that he grows on you (in spite of having some seriously overdue library books!)

Jessie and her older sister, Melinda, seem to be very different, but then Melinda fails to win a beauty pageant. In the end it doesn't really matter that they “were only there to make the winner feel more important.” p 181. After this Jessie Lou realizes that she and Melinda have much more in common than she thought and they begin to connect with each other.

By the end of the book I cared deeply about all the characters and much as I wonder what will happen to them as they grow up, I know in my heart that Quentin, Conrad, and Jessie Lou will remain deep down friends forever.


Set at the beginning of the Second World War, Felicity, age 11 travels with her parents, Winnie and Danny, from England to a village on the coast of Maine. After a tense and awkward interlude, Felicity is left with family she didn’t know existed, while her parents return to England.

At first the house and its inhabitants seem shrouded in secrets and intrigue. Felicity warily negotiates her interactions with this new family; The Gram, Uncle Gideon, Aunt Miami, and the mysterious Captain Derek.

Over time Flissy (as she is nicknamed) comes to settle into her new life in America. She is a gift to them and helps them recover from their past hurts and insecurities.

Letters arrive from Danny addressed to Uncle Gideon. After much sleuthing, she and Derek crack the secret code and unravel the mystery surrounding them.

As the family secrets are revealed, Felicity finds that she finally has a home and place where she belongs.

I expected this book to be more like Deep Down Popular and there are some common themes – friendship, family, and first love are integral. Once I got over that it was different, I found that I enjoyed learning about history as I read this book. In it’s own way, it is another great read!