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Silent to the bone

by E.L. Konigsburg


Book Review

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Publishers Weekly :

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HWith this impeccably crafted novel two-time Newbery Medalist Konigsburg (The View from Saturday) again demonstrates her keen insight into the needs and tastes of a middle-grade audience. Here she ventures into what seemsDfor herDunusually dark territory. The story begins with a transcript of a 911 phone call. The caller himself (shortly afterward identified as 13-year-old Branwell Zamborska) appears silent, then a young British woman (an au pair) takes the phone and says that a six-month baby is unconscious: "He dropped her." As the comatose baby undergoes hospitalization, Branwell is struck mute and brought to a county facility for disturbed youths while prosecutors weigh charges against him. Young readers, unlikely to recall Louise Woodward and the Eappens, will be rapt as Konigsburg slowly unravels the true circumstances of the baby's accident and of Branwell's silence. Connor, Branwell's best friend, narrates and serves as detective, ingeniously finding a way to prise clues out of Branwell and piece them together. He enlists the help of his 20-something half-sister Margaret, one of those brilliant, slightly cryptic and idiosyncratic heroines Konigsburg fashions so well. In her classic style, the author inlays the plot with intriguing facts that prove significant (e.g., a Frenchman paralyzed completely except for his left eye "wrote" a book by having a friend recite the alphabet, then blinking when she came to the letter he needed). Along the way, Konigsburg also investigates the dynamics of step-families, preadolescent sexuality and other knotty subjectsDthe extraordinary achievement here is that she joins every element so seamlessly in the service of her gripping story. Ages 10-14. (Oct.)

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Book Review

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School Library Journal :

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"Part detective and suspense story, this multilayered novel is much more, touching on themes of communication, relationships in blended families, being different, friendship, adolescence, and shame."

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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