How Much For That…Wig in the Window?
How much? Well, let’s see. You’ve got one friendship on the line, and a budding middle school romance, too. You have a humiliating afternoon involving the police, the confiscation of a cell phone, and time spent with the scariest counselor on earth. And then you have the risk of possible death and the unsolved mystery of eight additional deaths. That’s for starters. Me thinks that the sweet girls driving the story forward might not have gone peeking and peering had they known the cost of seeing The Wig in the Window!
Then again, maybe they would have signed up in a heartbeat. They’re a plucky pair, and not likely to back down from a challenge. But, as much as I loved the main characters, it was a secondary character–Trista Bottoms–that stole my heart. She’s incredible, and the scene in which she’s introduced for the first time is incredible, too! I read it aloud to my middle school writing club as an example of how to write smashingly. Author Kristin Kittscher can build a scene, and her plot twists will leave you feeling like you’ve taken a rollercoaster ride. But this scene when Trista is introduced is in a category unto itself! Little or no words used to describe Trista–certainly no ‘telling’–but at the end of the scene you’ve just been introduced to an unforgettable character with a flair all her own, and you’ve rolled on the floor laughing while you read!
I’d better stop now, before I give too much away. I’m pleased to report, however, that my middle school writers rose to the challenge I set them after reading it, and turned in some pretty good scenes of their own. They found Trista and the dynamic duo of tween girl agents just as inspirational as I did, and are excited to get to know Kristin better when we skype with her this week. Woot for a talented and generous author! And double woot (woot!) for a story that dives into bullying, tween angst, multi-cultural challenges, and that nefarious thing called trusting your gut, and does it all with humor and aplomb!
You’ve heard what I thought, and how the middle schoolers reacted…now let’s see what the cat thinks.
“Typical of a human that you’d mention so many of the people in this book and leave out the most important fact–that Agent Yang (aka Grace) has a cat! And quite a graceful one, at that. I’ll bet it was his dash and daring, feckless curiosity and flair for espionage that the girls were trying to emulate when they first began their spying. Whenever you find yourself faced with a great mystery, it’s best to look around for the cat. You may not see it, but its there…somewhere.”
Erm. Ah, yes. There was a cat…though he didn’t play a terribly large part. Also a really cool (if a bit gassy) Grandpa, and a nice science teacher. Plus some other people like their parents. Many thanks to Apricot-kitty for reminding us of the importance of supporting characters!
You’ll find more Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts on the fabulous Shannon’s blog. Hop around and pick up some great book recommends!