Monday, June 3, 2019

June's Book of the Month--The Parker Inheritance

June's book of the month is THE PARKER INHERITANCE, by Varian Johnson.

When 12-year-old Candice Miller moves to Lambert, South Carolina, for the summer, she imagines it will be horrible. She wants her real room in her real house in Atlanta. But soon after meeting bookish Brandon Jones from across the street, Candice decides Lambert might not be so bad, after all. The two go hunting for something to read in the attic, where Candice finds an old letter that lays out a “puzzle mystery” with clues that lead to a hidden fortune, and the summer really takes off.

Candace knows her grandmother, after receiving this very same letter ten years earlier, was forced to resign from her job and leave Lambert in disgrace. Now, Candace and Brandon become caught up in solving a mystery that might have the power to “make right what once went so utterly wrong,” beginning when the Washington family was run out of Lambert decades earlier, “victims of the city’s long-standing discrimination against black people.” Candice and Brandon become the very best of friends as they work their way through the clues, taking the words of Candice’s grandmother to heart: Find the path. Solve the puzzle.

This is a really engaging middle grade mystery that pays homage to that puzzle-rich classic, The Westing Game, while layering in plenty of issues that should interest today’s readers. Front and center are matters of racial tension and intolerance, bullying, and the right of any kid/person to be gay, straight, or whatever without ridicule or harassment. Divorce and its aftermath figure in, as well, but the story is upbeat and action-heavy, despite references to these “real world” problems. At its heart, it’s a tale of friendship and kid smarts.

Have you read THE PARKER INHERITANCE? What do you think?


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