Saturday, June 13, 2015

Kid Konnection: Mischief and Malice

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you a sequel to a book that's over 35 years old!

Summary: Set in New Orleans on the eve of World War II, Mischief and Malice is a brand new work from an iconic figure in young adult literature.

Following the death of her Aunt Eveline, fourteen-year old Addie—who we first met in Berthe Amoss’s classic Secret Lives—is now living with her Aunt Toosie, Uncle Henry, and her longtime rival cousin, Sandra Lee. A new family has just moved into Addie’s former house, including a young girl who is just Addie’s age. Meanwhile, Louis, the father of Tom, Addie’s lifelong neighbor and best friend, suddenly returns after having disappeared when Tom was a baby. Between school dances, organizing a Christmas play, fretting about her hair, and a blossoming romance with Tom, Addie stumbles upon a mystery buried in the Great Catch All, an ancient giant armoire filled with heirlooms of her family’s past, which holds a devastating secret that could destroy Louis and Tom’s lives. Once again, Berthe Amoss has created an indelible portrait of a young girl coming of age in prewar New Orleans. -- Lizzie Skurnick Books

I am just thrilled to be reviewing a book from Lizzie Skurnick Books! I have been a fan of Ms. Skurnick's since I hosted the Shelf Discovery Challenge a few years ago. Ms. Skurnick now has her own imprint under Ig Publishing, and she's bring back some oldies but goodies along with a few new books. One of those new books is MISCHIEF AND MALICE by Berthe Amoss.

Even though MISCHIEF AND MALICE was recently released, this novel is a sequel to SECRET LIVES...which I did not read. I can honestly say that you don't have to have read SECRET LIVES to appreciate MISCHIEF AND MALICE, but so want to now. I loved 14 year-old Addie and would certainly enjoy sharing some more time with her.

In MISCHIEF AND MALICE, Addie's Aunt Eveline has recently died so she is now living with Aunt Tootsie, Uncle Henry, and Sandra Lee, her cousin who isn't exactly nice to her. There are many changes in store for Addie. A new family, with a girl Addie's age moves into Addie's old house; and her best friend Tom's father Louis has returned to town after leaving when Tom was a baby. Addie is confused about her feelings towards Tom -- does she like him as more than a friend?, but she's pretty sure she's fallen hard for the very charming Louis.

Given all that Addie is facing, she's a pretty typical teenage girl. She's trying to find her way amid problems at school and with her cousin, while also planning a Christmas play and trying to figure out Louis' intentions. When Addie uncovers a mystery that exists in a huge armoire that once belonged to her family, much is at risk for Louis and his past. Addie soon realizes that Louis' attention to her might have had more to do with the secret he's hiding than his actual feelings toward her.

Despite not being the ideal age for MISCHIEF AND MALICE (ages 9 - 14), I really enjoyed it. Addie is just a fantastic character and I loved seeing her grow up in pre World War II New Orleans. She is such a sweet (and innocent) young girl, and I thought the portrayal of her was spot on. While the story took place many decades ago, I still think today's girls will relate to Addie. Addie' confusion about love and romance, along with her the way she handled the drama at school and with her cousin, definitely resonated with my memories of teenage years.

I have to admit that I'm partial to Addie and her character development. While there was a mystery in MISCHIEF AND MALICE, in my opinion, it wasn't the strongest aspect of the story. Don't get me wrong, it was good, but it wasn't great. Having said that, I rarely read MG or YA mysteries so it's possible I'm judging the mystery based on adult books. Bottom line: I just appreciated Addie's coming-of-age story more than anything else!

MISCHIEF AND MALICE is a terrific read for MG or even YA girls. I highly recommend it and need to get my hands on SECRET LIVES!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


bermudaonion said...

How exciting!! This sounds so good!

HeatherAnne said...

How much does WWII play into the book? Between The Book Thief, Echo, All the Light We Cannot See - we're about WWII'd out at our house in the book department. But this sounds really good! :-)