Review Detail

Kids Fiction 268
Family problems and mystery
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Abby's family runs McCourt Cabins in Moose Junction, but the resort is not going as well as they would like. An upcoming eclipse will hopefully mean an uptick in business, which is sorely needed, especially since Blair, Abby's oldest sister, is in a residential treatment program for anorexia. Blair, a talented ballet dancer, has struggled with the disorder for a while, but could not complete an audition for the Joffrey Ballet School Trainee Program, and spiraled downwards after that. Jade, Abby's other sister, is busy with work and boyfriends, and Abby gets involved with one of the customers, Dr. Leo Lacamoire, who shares her interest in astronomy. His assistant, Simone, asks for Abby's help locating a rare telescope that was buried in the town's time capsule in 2000, and Abby enlists her sister to help her. As the eclipse approaches, secrets come out about both the professor and Abby, and Abby's family deals with Blair's illness and recovery.
Good Points
Blair's interest in ballet and all of the details about her being home schooled, driving to lessons, and trying out for Joffrey are all very interesting. There are not a lot of books about ballet. Middle school readers are always interested in eating disorders, especially anorexia, and have been ever since Levenkron's The Best Little Girl in the World came out in 1978, when I was in middle school. Interestingly, there are two other books that combine these two topics, Padian's Jersey Tomatoes are the Best and Porter's The Dance of Sisters. Clearly, this is a link that needs to be explored in literature, and seeing Blair's experience through Abby's eyes makes it a little less intense.

The family dynamic, and Abby's part in it, is well done. The mystery of the microscope rounds out the story, as does the eclipse and the family business problems. There have been a number of books out recently that deal with families running motels, including Hurwitz's Hello from Renn Lake and Cohen's No Vacancy. This is another topic with deep roots; one of my favorites as a child was Holland's 1957 No Children, No Pets.
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