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"A smaller percentage of 17 year olds saw adults reading in their homes in 1999 than in 1984."
Summary: On Fox Street everyone knows everyone else, and the kids who live there might as well have a dozen parents instead of just two. Except Mo. Mo Wren (10) lives with her dad and her sister. Their house is the focus of all activity on Fox Street, and as it happens to be dead in the middle of the block, Mo considers it the heart of the street. There are lots of interesting neighbors: a piano player, a hair-cutter, and a mean, reclusive old lady. Mo loves life here, especially summers, because her friend Mercedes comes back to visit for the break. The other special thing about Fox Street is that it is the only place that has memories of her mom, and she doesn't want that to change. When her father gets a letter from someone asking to buy the property, Mo gets upset. She watches with dismay as her dad seems to give in to the plan. She and Mercedes, who has her own problems, attempt to stop him and prevent the sale of her childhood paradise. Along the way, Mo uncovers events that have long been put away and forgotten, which complicates the already rather-tangled web that Mo has found herself in. This is a part mystery, part coming-of-age story for preteens.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader
Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 13; read yourself: 10 and up
Young Reader Reaction: Though What Happened On Fox Street is a little more sedate than my usual reading, it drew me in with carefully-developed plot twists. In the beginning, there is no real sense of urgency, but Mo’s frantic desire to keep her childhood home and the world that has been built around her infects the story and make the reader care about the eventual outcome.
This book is probably suited for girls ages 12-14. Its appeal might not extend to boys whose tastes run more to books about action and such. I would recommend it to anyone who likes ‘slice-of-life’ type novels and stories built on character interaction and development.
Adult Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Pros: This is a story that will grab readers in ways the can't imagine. The plot has some surprises and you initially skip over things you didn't think were "clues."
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. Mystery lovers may want this one on their shelf.
Educational Themes: This would be an excellent selection for a mother-daughter book club (or even a father-daughter book club). There is plenty to talk about vis-a-vis parent-child relationships, choices and consequences, friendship, and community.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - mystery, life lessons, family, coming of age, death and loss, friendship
Date(s) Reviewed: July 2011
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.