“Commencement means beginning….” Or Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye

Screenshot 2015-02-13 at 20.00.47

This book is almost as old as I am – I was born in ’77 and it was published in ’78.  I’d like to think that I’ve aged better than this book has. It’s not really Lois Lowry’s fault – the whole way we search for people has changed in the last thirty blah-blah years.

Natalie Armstrong is seventeen years old and is graduating high school. She has two amazing parents and a sixteen year old sister, Nancy who she is very close to. The only thing is that Natalie is adopted. And no matter how much she loves her parents and her sister, she never stops thinking about her birth mother. Her parents know about her desire to find her birth mother, and at first they are a little hurt. But eventually they understand that Natalie wanting to find her isn’t really about them. So their graduation present to her is their help in finding her birth mother.

Natalie’s adoption was not through an agency, it was a private adoption. The only person who knows both the identity of the birth mother as well as the identity of the adoptive parents is the lawyer who facilitated the adoption. That lawyer is Natalie’s starting point.

Natalie’s first stop is Simmons Mill, a small Maine town where the lawyer practiced. The town is so small there are no motels, and Natalie stays a few nights at the house of an older woman who runs a boarding house. The old woman knows everyone, and gives Natalie the news that the lawyer she’s looking for has been dead for a decade. Natalie asks after the Doctor who delivered her, Dr. Therrian, and she’s told that he’s in the hospital being treated for cancer. And that both his wife and his only son pre-deceased him.

Natalie pays a visit to old Doc Therrian, who is very clearly not doing well. But he sees Natalie and believes she is someone called Julie. Though he is sickly, Natalie manages to have a nice conversation with him, and he tells her he remembers her birth very well – and he gives her the name of her birth mother, Julie Jeffries. The only thing that shocks Natalie is that Julie Jeffries was only fifteen when she had Natalie. This news is shocking for Natalie, whose first instinct is to be little Miss Slut-shaming McJudge-a-lot toward her birth mother. Though she gets over it quickly(ish).

Natalie goes to the Simmons Mill public library and looks through old newspapers and high school yearbooks for Julie Jeffries. It appears that Julie spent only one year, her Sophomore, at Simmons Mill High School. And she’s shocked to see her in the year book, because Julie looks exactly like Natalie.

Unfortunately, there is no information about Julie’s whereabouts after she left in her sophomore year. And this is all the information she goes back to Bar Harbor with. It’s Natalie’s boyfriend, Paul, who has the idea of calling the Paper Mill to find out where Julie’s dad (Clement, an executive at the Mill)  went after leaving Simmons Mill. Natalie calls and finds out from personnel that Clement Jeffries transferred to Philadelphia after leaving Maine.

Natalie gets back from Simmons Mill, but before she can do anything the family gets news that Natalie’s grandmother, Tallie (for whom Natalie is named) has gotten sick and is in the hospital.  Natalie’s mother goes to stay with the grandmother for a little bit, leaving Natalie in charge at home. Natalie begins to appreciate all that her mother does for them.

While their mother is gone, Natalie continues her search. She calls the mill in Philadelphia and learns that Clement died in 1974. She happened to talk to someone who remembered the Jeffries because their daughter went to the same boarding school as Julie – Miss Sheridan’s in Connecticut. And she knew that Mrs. Jeffries moved to Detroit from a Philadlephia suburb called Glen Severn after Clement’s death.

A call to Miss Sheridan’s had no forwarding address for Julie. And information had no information for Clement Jeffries in Detroit. It seemed like Natalie’s search had come to an end. But then she remembered how her boyfriend joked that her birth parents, because they were rich, were probably Episcopalian. On a whim, she called the only Episcopalian church in Glen Severn, PA and talked to a secretary who happened to have stayed in touch with Margaret Jeffries, Julie’s mother. She gave Natalie Margaret’s contact info, and Julie called her birth grandmother pretending to be an old school mate of Julie’s from Miss Sheridan’s.

She learned that Julie became a model and lives in New York City with her husband and two sons, ages six and four. Natalie can’t wait, and she heads off to New York.

New York is different than small-town Maine, obviously. Julie is clearly wealthy and lives in a beautiful building. Natalie thinks she can’t just go in there, so she leaves a note with the doorman for Julie explaining who she is and asking her to call her at her hotel. Barely any time passes and Julie calls.

They meet the next day at the Russian Tea Room. Natalie is overwhelmed because Julie is beautiful. She turns heads, and as a model is dressed impeccably. But they don’t bond immediately. Julie is distant and ignores Natalie when she says she wants to be a doctor and tries to convince her to go into modeling. The whole meal is weird. And the next day, Natalie goes to Julie’s apartment and meets Julie’s sons, who are whisked away by their nanny.

Here’s the kicker. Julie gives Natalie the diary that she kept during her pregnancy, and Natalie learns that her biological father is Doc Therrian’s son. Doc Therrian was the only person who showed Julie any kindness while she was young and pregnant. Natalie knows that Doc is dying – and has maybe even died already. She leaves New York and goes back to Simmons Mill one more time to visit Doc before he dies. He is very close to death, and Natalie isn’t sure that he can hear her, but she thanks him for the kindness he showed to Julie. And to assure him that she has a wonderful life.

So at the end, Natalie feels whole. Like she’s completed her own puzzle and she doesn’t feel compelled to maintain a relationship with Julie. She loves her parents and she looks forward to starting college in a few weeks.

  • So, yeah. This reads almost like a historical document in how to find people in the pre-internet age. It’s actually kind of interesting, all the avenues she has to go down instead of sitting down in front of Google.
  • This is the book that Claudia read in Claudia and the Great Search when she was convinced she was adopted. Claudia is not as good a detective as Natalie.
  • You gotta be careful, meeting bio parents. When I was in college, I worked with a woman in her early-20’s who was adopted and chose to locate her biological family and met them and it turns out they were giant assholes and kept trying to get money out of her. She said finding them was the worst decision ever.
  • Adoption fact: adoptions are more and more likely to be open adoptions nowadays. Where the adopted parents keep in contact with the biological mother (and father in some cases) with pictures and updates. Open adoptions are actually considered more successful.
  • Natalie’s mom and grandmother are both artists, which in early Y.A. lit means they are WACKY. But their wackiness is lame. Natalie’s dad is a logical doctor, and he is so good-natured about his wife and mother-in-law’s crazy artistic antics. It’s all very stereotypical.
Posted in Angst, Lois Lowry | Leave a comment

“This is time to be his friend,” or Remember Me to Harold Square

Image courtesy of Goodreads

Image courtesy of Goodreads

After re-reading (and not liking at all) The Cat Ate my Gym Suit, I was a little nervous to read another Paula Danziger book. But I shouldn’t have been. While it’s not great literature, Remember Me to Harold Square is a perfectly fine book, for a book written for twelve year olds in 1987.

Kendra Kaye lives in New York City with her parents and brother, Oscar (Nicknamed OK.) She’s fifteen years old and is going in to tenth grade. She’s super bummed because all of her friends are going to be out of the city for the whole summer. And she envisions months on end of hanging out with ten year old OK.

But that doesn’t happen. Because her parents have friends who are going to Europe for the whole summer, and they’re leaving their fifteen year old son, Frank, to stay with the Kayes. Frank lives on a cattle farm in Wisconsin, and Kendra is super nervous about having a boy living in her house for the summer.

To keep the kids from getting bored, Kendra’s parents create a NYC-based scavenger hunt for Kendra, Frank, and OK. They have a huge list of things that have to see and do over the summer. That’s what most of the book is, these three kids going from place to place in New York, and Kendra being really grateful her parents chose to raise her there.

And Kendra has a little crush on Frank. But he has a girlfriend back in Wisconsin, Mary Alice. Part way through the summer, Frank gets a break-up letter (pre-cell phone, pre-email days) from Mary Alice and he is super bummed. Kendra decides to hang up her crush and just be a good friend to Frank.

Frank eventually gets over Mary Alice, then at a Mets game he pulls Kendra aside and kisses her. And it’s sweet and those two really dig each other. But the of course he goes back to Wisconsin at the end of the summer.

  • Really. Both of Kendra’s parents work and they’re just fine with their fifteen year old daughter spending so much alone time with a sixteen year old boy.
  • This scavenger hunt is HUGE. The kids have to do about three things a day every day in the summer. There are museums, neighborhoods, restaurants, churches, and attractions. The parents had a little account for them to use to go to everything.
  • It’s clear that Paula Danziger loves New York and wrote the book as a sort of love letter to the city.  This book is responsible for eleven year old me dreaming of leaving my small town and living in a city. (It didn’t quite work. I left the small town for a large suburb. But I’m at least a quick subway ride to a city.)
  • While I did like this book more than The Cat Ate My Gymsuit, it had the same problem with terrible dialogue. Really stiff and unbelievable. Also, with both of these books, it’s easy to see the upward trajectory of YA lit in the last twenty or thirty years. Because the writing is very juvenile for a twelve-ish year old today. The prose reads very much like things that my eight year old is reading. Any twelve year old who’s already read Harry Potter or The Hunger Games isn’t going to like this.
  • Kendra hates how over-protective her mom is. And she says it’s because her mom was raised by parents who survived the Holocaust. Which that may be, but considering there are a lot of overprotective parents out there, I’m not sure about that link.
  • I think the real reason Danziger made Kendra’s grandparents survivors though, is that it made for a more emotional visit to the  Jewish Museum.
  • Kendra loves puns. Which is terrible, but Frank loves it so I guess that means they’re made for each other. Because no one else would put up with that shit.
  • So the reason Frank’s parents didn’t take him to Europe: They’d been having marital problems for a few years. Then Frank’s dad got cancer. With the parents busy with his dad’s treatment and running the farm, they had very little time to spend with Frank. So Frank started acting up, doing poorly in school, and dating an older girl (the aforementioned Mary Alice). Things were tense and they decided to let Frank have some time away from them and get to see a new city.
  • Still, it’s totally effed up to go to Europe and not take your sixteen year old.
  • I had a lot of other thoughts about this book, but I let about a month go by between reading it and actually writing this post.
  • Oh, but check out that amazing 80’s-tastic book cover. Kendra’s clothes and her hair. Nice. Also, my husband looked at the cover and saw the rainbow behind Danziger’s name and wanted to know why there was a pride flag on the book.
Posted in Paula Danziger | 3 Comments

Books read: 2014

I finished The Cuckoo’s Calling last night with just a couple hours left in the new year!

As always, books read for the blog are asterisked* and books I highly recommend are bolded.

1. Wonder When You’ll Miss Me; Amanda Davis
2. The Art of Fielding; Chad Harbach
3. She-Hulk, Vol 6: Jaded; Peter David, et al
4. Eleanor & Park; Rainbow Rowell
5. Growing Up Brady: Barry Williams
6.Hyperbole & a Half: Allie Brosh
7. Boxers; Gene Luen Yang
8. Saints; Gene Luen Yang
9. What if They Knew; Patricia Hermes*
10. The Reece Malcolm List; Amy Spalding
11. Ramona & Her Mother; Beverly Cleary*
12. Kristy’s Great Idea (The graphic novel); Ann M. Martin & Raina Telgemeier
13. Wonder Woman, The New 52; Brian Azzarello, et al
14. Wonder Woman, The New 52 Vol. 2; Brian Azzarello, et al
15. Who’s Reading Darci’s Diary?; Martha Tolles*
16. Last Call in the City of Bridges; Savatore Pane
17. Hollow City; Ransom Riggs
18. Sex, Drugs, & Cocoa Puffs; Chuck Klosterman
19. When Zachary Beaver Came to Town; Kimberly Willis Holt
20. Orphan Train; Christina Baker Kline
21. A Long Way Down; Nick Hornby
22. It’s Not What You Expect; Norma Klein*
23. Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life; Bryan Lee O’Malley
24. Wonder Woman, the New 52, Vol.3; Brian Azzarello, et al
25. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World; Bryan Lee O’Malley
25. Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness; Bryan Lee O’Malley
26. Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together; Bryan Lee O’Malley
27. Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe; Bryan Lee O’Malley
28. Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour; Bryan Lee O’Malley
29. Brains; Robin Becker
30. The Cat Ate My Gymsuit; Paula Danziger*
31. More Than This; Patrick Ness
32. Wonder Woman, the New 52, Vol. 4; Brian Azzarello, et al
33. Notes from an Accidental Band Geek; Erin Dionne
34. Darkfever; Karen Marie Moning
35. Someone to Love; Norma Fox Mazer*
36. Attachments; Rainbow Rowell
37. No Place for Me; Barthe DeClements
38. Sisters; Raina Telgemeier
39. Youth in Revolt; C.D. Payne
40. The Complete Deadpool, Vol 1; Daniel Way, et al
41. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Vol 1; Brian Michael Bendis, et al
42. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Vol 2; Brian Michael Bendis, et al
43. Band Geek Love; Josie Bloss
44. Under Twelve Not Allowed; Page McBrier*
45. Sisterhood Everlasting; Ann Brashares
46. The Magician’s Land; Lev Grossman
47. Seconds; Bryan Lee O’Malley
48. Landline; Rainbow Rowell
49. Bone; Jeff Smith
50. Ten Kids, Not Pets; Ann M. Martin*
51. Lumberjanes, Vol 1-8; Noelle Stevenson, et al
52. Weetzie Bat; Francesca Lia Block*
53. Bone, Vol 2; Jeff Smith
54. Hero; Perry Moore
55. The Cuckoo’s Calling; Robert Galbraith

Posted in general | 5 Comments

“Now we can duck hunt together,” or, Weetzie Bat

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Image courtesy of Goodreads

I don’t know what to even think of this book.

On one hand, I read it quickly and didn’t seem to enjoy it much while I was reading. But on the other hand, I can’t stop thinking about it so it must have had some effect on me, even if I can’t quite define what that effect is.

Weetzie Bat is a girl of an undefined age (but I’m thinking seventeen or eighteen) who befriends Dirk. They are inseparable best friends and they spend their days hooking up with various guys who they call ducks.

Dirk’s grandma loves Weetzie and gives her an old lamp, out of which a genie pops and gives Weetzie three wishes. She wishes for guys for herself and Dirk and for a house for them to all live in. Then Grandma Fifi dies and leaves her house to Dirk and Weetzie. They live there, and Dirk falls in love with Duck (see, because Weetzie asked for a Duck for Dirk.)

Eventually a filmmaker called My Secret Agent Lover Man (named for the same reason as Duck) falls in love with Weetzie and they four of them live together.

Then Weetzie wants a baby, but My Secret Agent Lover Man doesn’t. So Weetzie sleeps with Dirk and Duck (and of course with My Secret Agent Lover Man) and becomes pregnant and they all raise the baby together. They have a girl, who is named Cherokee Bat.

My Secret Agent Lover Man is unhappy with the situation and leaves Weetzie, but he eventually comes back. Several months later, a baby is left on their doorstep, the product of a fling My Secret Agent Lover Man had while he was gone. They decide to raise this girl as a sister for Cherokee. They want to call her Lily, but she ends up being called Witch-Baby, because her mom was a witch.

Also, Weetzie’s dad Charlie Bat dies, and one of Duck’s friends dies of AIDS, but they never mention the word AIDS which is weird.

I don’t know. I really don’t. The book is short and it took me about an hour to read the whole thing. The language is super simple and there is little in the way of emotional development or descriptors. And it’s really weirdly hipster-y and we’re supposed to love that Weetzie wears Native American headdresses (ugh) and they call their car Jerry and the dog Slinkster.

But….but. I don’t know. I keep thinking about it. And maybe even though there wasn’t a lot of emotional pull to the characters while reading it, something must have been there because I’m still hoping that Weetzie and Dirk and the gang are OK. (There are sequels, but I probably will never get around to reading them.)

Also, I’m drunk -posting right now.

Posted in francesca lia block, teen sex | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

“What the junk?” Or, Lumberjanes

I’m giving you guys an early Christmas present. (If you celebrate Christmas, that is. Otherwise, it’s just a year-end gift.) Here’s the present: A recommendation to read Lumberjanes.

Image courtesy of Boom Studio.

Image courtesy of Boom Studio.

Image courtesy of Boom Studios.

Image courtesy of Boom Studios.

Lumberjanes is an 8-part comic series from Boom Studios, and it. Is. Amazing.

Lumberjanes follows the adventures of the five girls (Jo, Mal, Molly, Ripley & April) of Roanoke Cabin at Camp Lumberjanes. They’re best friends and they take their friendship very seriously. Like, to the max seriously. They  have a lot of creepy adventures at camp involving scary supernatural foxes and yetis and a bear-woman and all kinds of monsters that their counselor (the ever-suffering Jen) can’t believe actually exist.

There’s a lot of ass-kicking and a lot of teamwork and a ton of strong female friendship. There was a description of this as Buffy meets Gravity Falls, and I can’t think of any way to put it that’s more apt. It’s got the ass-kickiness and sassiness of any episode of Buffy, inside a plot that is Gravity Falls-esque.

The writing is fun, the art is adorable, the characters are spunky, the plot quirky but surprisingly deep. What’s not to love about this series? It’s a never-ending delight.

In great Lumberjanes news, Boom has announced that the series was recently upgraded from being an eight-issue run to an ongoing series. Lumberjanes could go on forever!

And listen. It wasn’t just that I loved it, my husband read it and loved it, and my eight year old son read it (he read all eight issues in one day) and loved it. AND he read it just days after he told me, “I don’t like books with girl characters so much.”

So. Merry Christmas. You’re welcome.

Posted in comics | Tagged , | 4 Comments

“They’re just as I imagined,” Or The Animal, The Vegetable & John D. Jones

Before I begin, look at this cover. My three year old son looked at it and asked if the kid sitting down in Harry Potter. Dark hair, round glasses ….. I can see it.

Image courtesy of Goodreads

Image courtesy of Goodreads

I’ve mentioned before that Betsy Byars sure can write a melancholy kids book. She has a tendency to write kids who just aren’t happy. Not that they’re always in dire situations (though some are in The Pinballs) but the kids in her books are vaguely depressed. The three protagonists in this book, sisters Deanie and Clara, and John D. Jones are slightly happier, kind of, than most other Byars’ protagonists.

Deanie and Clara are spending two weeks at the beach with their father, when he drops a bomb that his girlfriend, Delores (whom the girls have never met) and her son, John D are going to spend the vacation with them. Neither Deanie nor Clara are happy about this news, and they make no promises to be kind to John D or Delores.

John D is just as unhappy. John D is never really happy, actually. Or maybe he is – we never know because he thinks emotions are for weaklings. John D is so much like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. In fact, I assume John D is somewhere on the autism spectrum, but this book was published in 1984 when the spectrum wasn’t really a thing yet. John D is writing a book called “You are Smarter Than Your Teachers,” and it’s full of hints about how to get your own way. Including not showing emotion, always keeping a calm voice.

The way he’s described is a little chilling, almost sociopathic.

In the past year, John D had discovered his power over his mother. All he had to do was speak firmly and quietly and he got his way. He was amazed at how simple it was. All those years he had spent…kicking and screaming….His whining alone, he figured had taken up countless hours of his valuable life.

And this:

John D had never been bored in his life. This was because he had the constant companionship of the most intelligent, witty, and creative person in the world – himself.

The only person John D cares about ever meeting is his father. Delores is a widow – her husband, John D’s father, was killed in a plane crash a half hour before John D was born. Delores clearly has her hands full.

Deanie and Clara are more typical teenagers. They are sisters who constantly pick on and tease each other. Deanie is older and is popular and is the one doing most of the teasing. Clara is sulky and sarcastic and never gets her own way.

The result of putting three unhappy teenagers together is (predictably) awful. John D and the girls do not get along. Though throughout the book, you see John D have moments of understanding of Clara, which he is quick to dismiss and get back to his usual emotional detachment.

One day, after several miserable days, Clara takes a plastic raft into the ocean. Deanie is on the beach practicing her cheerleading moves, and John D is on the front porch writing his book. Their dad and mom have gone out. Clara falls asleep on the raft and gets pulled out beyond the waves and swells and out to sea.

John D is the first one to notice it, and gets Deanie’s attention. They find a way into town to their parents. The coast guard is contacted and they begin an extensive search – where they end up finding the raft with no Clara on it.  The search is called off, and it’s assumed she’s dead.

Clara, however, had been rescued moments earlier by a fishing boat. The boat’s radio had stopped working so no one knew she was rescued until they got back to shore. The boat brings her into the coast guard office, where she has a tearful reunion with her dad and Deanie, and even with Delores. John D manages a smile.

While Clara had been missing, Deanie is upset at how much she’d picked on Clara, but a lot of the focus is on John D and how he’s feeling. Despite himself, John D sort of liked Clara’s sarcastic nature, and he is shocked to find how deeply frightened and upset he is over her disappearance.

She (Clara) was back, safe and unharmed, shaken – and yet somehow she seemed more secure. He, on the other hand, was not. His emotions, new and crude and oversize as the beginning of a carving, made a lump in his chest.

He could have written a chapter about it, he thought. “Ways to Avoid Misery.” And for the first rule be “Don’t care about anybody.” But for some reason, his book no longer seemed important. He doubted he would finish it.

Posted in Betsy Byars, dead parents, Sibling Rivalry | 1 Comment

“Those are the weirdest names.” Or, Ten Kids, No Pets

Ann M. Martin has a new book out for 2014, and it’s getting AMAZING reviews. So, I just needed to remember that when I read this book written twenty-five years ago. Because it is….not good. It’s nice to have proof an author can grow and improve during that time.

Image courtesy of Goodreads

Image courtesy of Goodreads

The Rosso family has ten kids, but no pets. As the very brilliant title suggests. At the beginning of the book, the family is moving from New York City to a farmhouse in New Jersey. I’m not even going to go into the idea of a family of twelve living in an apartment in NYC. Mr. Rosso is in advertising, which I guess pays super well because a 4 BR apartment in NYC isn’t cheap.

Each chapter is told from the point of view of one of the kids (ages fourteen through six – there is a set of twins in there). Each kid has one thing in common, which is that they want a pet. They’re sure that moving out of the city and into the country means they’ll definitely be allowed a pet. But Mrs. Rosso says over and over ‘ten kids is enough!’

Anyway, stupid shit happens and at the end Mrs. Rosso is knocked up again and lets them get a pet and they find  kitten in the yard and are allowed to keep it.

I don’t really want to get bogged down in talking too much about what’s going on in the book, mostly because it’s boring, but also because I want to talk about these kids’ fucking names.

  • Abigail (Abbie)
  • Bainbridge
  • Calandra (Candy)
  • Dagwood (Woody)
  • Eberhard (Hardy)
  • Faustine
  • Gardenia (Dinnie)
  • Hannah
  • Ira
  • Janthina (Jan)
  • Kelly/Keegan for the 11th kid depending if it’s a boy or girl.

Their mother has a ‘system’ for naming her kids. She has a baby name book, and her first kid had the first name from the A’s. Her second kid, the second name in the B’s, third kid had the third name in the C’s….etc.

Which is odd on its own, because when she had Abigail, was she really planning on having enough kids that she’d need a system?

But really, when you think about it, this is just fucking awful. Not to get to sentimental about kids or whatever (I have two of them), but the first thing you ever give to your kids (besides life itself) is a name. And people have different views on naming kids, which is fine. You can like common names, or unique names, or foreign names, or family names, or old-fashioned names. Whatever you like, you give your kid a name that you love and you hope your kid loves it as much as you do, or at least doesn’t hate it.

But for shit’s sake, your kids are people, not decorations and not things. Giving your kid the name Eberhard because it fits into some crackpot system and not because you truly love the name is an awful thing to do to a kid. It doesn’t respect him as an individual, it only respects how he fits into the family. (In this case, a name that begins with an E.)

And the kids aren’t happy with their names. Abbie admits she lucked out, and so did Ira and Hannah. But Woody (Dagwood) has actually gotten into fist fights over his name. In fact, they are so unhappy with their names, that when the twins, Faustine and Gardenia, try to save an injured bird to keep as a pet, they intentionally give her a very plain name – Sally. (Also, had the twins been boys, they would have been Farley and Galen. The only time it’s mentioned what a kid would have been as the opposite sex.)

I’m a big fan of Laura Wattenberg and her website, The Baby Name Wizard, which has basically all the information you could ever want about names. Name maps, name encyclopedia, name lists, a name blog…..this naming website puts all other name sites to shame. I also have the 2nd edition of the BNW book. So, if this book was published today and Mrs. Rosso had only the BNW book, here’s what her kids would be named. I’ll do boy and girl for each letter.

  • Aaliyah/Aaron
  • Barbara/Barack
  • Calista/Caden
  • Dalia/Dalton
  • Eileen/Edmund
  • Fern/Finn
  • Geneva/Garth
  • Harper/Harry
  • Irene/ *There IS no I this far down in the boys’ names. The last I is Ivor
  • Janet/Jamal
  • Katrina/Kelvin

On another non-naming note, this book is chock-a-block with things Ann M has a lady boner for. Big families, old houses with a secret passage, old diaries found in old houses, kids putting together events, and kids watching reruns of I Love Lucy and Leave it to Beaver. 

Posted in Ann M. Martin, really awful books, Sibling Rivalry | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments