Friday, June 14, 2013
Me on The Wig in the Window
Author: Kristen Kittscher
Release Date: June 18, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Best friends and seventh graders Sophie Young and Grace Yang have made a game out of spying on their neighbors. On one of their midnight stakeouts, they witness a terrifying, bloody scene at the home of their bizarre middle-school counselor, Dr. Charlotte Agford (aka Dr. Awkward). At least, they think they do. The truth is that Dr. Agford was only making her famous pickled beets! But when Dr. Agford begins acting even weirder than usual, Sophie and Grace become convinced that she’s hiding something, and they’re determined to find out what it is. Soon the girls are breaking secret codes, being followed by a strange blue car, and tailing strangers with unibrows and Texas accents. But as their investigation heats up, Sophie and Grace start to crack under the pressure. They might solve their case, but will their friendship survive?
The Wig in the Window is an entertaining and exciting mystery, complete with two inquisitive girls and some curious secrets newly discovered in their quiet neighbourhood. Both girls are ready to put their spy skills to the test and uncover the truth, but they uncover something far more complicated than they expected and they'll have to work quickly in order to bust everything out into the open.
Sophie and Grace are smart girls, curious girls, girls who speculate and hope to discover the hidden truths behind their neighbours' strange actions. Of course, sometimes it's just their imaginations getting the best of them, but this time it isn't. This time it's something big, something with secret codes and a car that wanders around constantly. This time they've hit it big and it's time to get to work. But spying and uncovering mysteries isn't always fun and games, sometimes real life gets in the way.
Because of the first person point of view, the reader gets more of Sophie than of Grace. At times, Sophie appears to have more reservations than Grace, she wants to be more cautious, she wants to do things a bit differently than Grace. Grace seems to be Sophie's only friend. Sophie's varied interests, including those in tai chi and fung shui, make me wonder if Sophie is trying to be someone else, if she's trying to appear interesting. It's like she doesn't think she's interesting enough on her own.
Friendship is a big part of this book. Sophie and Grace have to stick together, have to work together, or else the big secret they're hoping to expose about Dr. Agford is going to fade away in the night. But they both have their own personalities, their own lives away from each other, their own way of going about life. They're bound to clash and argue, but can they get past it? Will their friendship survive?
This book plays on the dream that almost every kid has had, and that's the dream of exposing the weird secrets of his or her neighbours. Behind closed doors, behind drawn curtains, kids just know there's something going on next door or down the street. And then they can investigate to their heart's content. But what if they end up in over their heads? What are they going to do next?
This is a mystery filled with twists and turns and a danger that begs to be revealed. I can only hope for more.
(I acquired an advance copy of this title at ALA Midwinter.)