- Published: New York : Roaring Brook Press, 2011.
- Year Published: 2011
- Edition: 1st ed.
- Description: 342 p. ; 22 cm.
- Language: English
- Format: Book
- Lexile: 700
- Interpersonal relations -- Fiction.
- Fathers and daughters -- Fiction.
- Private investigators -- Fiction.
- Missing persons -- Fiction.
- Social classes -- Fiction.
- New York (N.Y.) -- Fiction. -- History -- 20th century
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The girl is murder
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Call number: Teen Fiction
Available Copies: Downtown Teen
In 1942 New York City, fifteen-year-old Iris grieves for her mother who committed suicide and for the loss of her life of privilege, and secretly helps her father with his detective business since he, having lost a leg at Pearl Harbor, struggles to make ends meet.
Reviews & Summaries
Haines crafts the 1942 NYC and high school setting well, enlivening the teen dialogue with slang from the era -- I found myself saying 'boy howdy!' a lot -- and bringing the anxiety of a world war to the homefront. The reality of food rations, death and injuries to fathers and brothers, and a great economic divide within a city are all well done.
I also enjoyed Iris' inability to assimilate into her new school in her first year. The only relationships she can maintain are based on pervasive lies and manipulation, which ultimately dooms them. I thought that was really risky because it's hard to root for a protagonist who is so shady, though many of us do to this to our friends every day, but since her so called friends all have more guile than her, it makes her look better.
The detective story is slow to develop and loses a ton of steam by the end. Haines tries to tackle too many social and economic issues in one book with the zoots, the Harlem trips, Iris' uptown friends, and her mother's suicide, which clutter the storyline.
I'd like to cut the book down by ~75 pages, make the detective story more compelling, and develop Iris' motives more clearly.
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