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Monday, November 16, 2015

Kid reporters versus greedy and corrupt politicians and con artists with the fate of their town at stake!

Bauer, Joan (2008) Peeled  New York: Scholastic

Favorite Quote:
"How did you know I needed fudge?"
"Everyone needs fudge, Hildy, it's how God helps us cope."
(pg 168)

I loved this book.   Why did it take me so long to read it?

1.  After reading Bauer's Hope was Here I figured she couldn't write something that good again, so why bother trying (Peeled is very different from Hope was Here, but it is no less excellent.)
2,  My oldest daughter wouldn't let me read it for fear that it would take me too long to read, thus depriving her of the chance to reread it again.
3.  The opening lines give entirely the wrong impression about what this book is. Keep reading to the bottom of page 5 and you will be hooked.

But the point is, it was excellent.  I should have read it sooner.  You find yourself rooting for the kid reporters desperately.  The story is excellent and interesting and... oh, enough with the laudatory  adjectives, lets get to the story already.

Hildy, a reporter for her high school newspaper (and the daughter of a reporter father who died years ago), uncovers a story involving the mayor, the editor of the town paper,a land developer, a fortuneteller, a haunted house, and the possible destruction of several townspeople's apple orchards. When she and her student editor start running stories aobut it, the school tries to shut down the student newspaper.  A crusty reporter who is a former colleague of Hildy's late father shows up and takes over as adviser.  Throw in a death, a romance, and an underground paper and you have got a dynamic and interesting story.

And I guess one of the things I love most about this book is that it shows reporters doing what reporters are supposed to do, get at the truth.  At one point the crusty adviser tells Hildy that before she can run a story about the town newspaper editor's possible corruption, she has to call him and read it to him.  Hildy is scared, but she makes the call because it is the right thing to do.  It turns out there are reporters like this.  They tend to not be the ones in the limelight, but their presence gives me hope.  This book does too.  It is a good one.

This book is probably ideal for fourth grade through early high school.  I didn't notice anything that a reasonable person would find objectionable.

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