Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Spring 2007 Fiction
Ages: 10 & Up
Author: Karon Luddy
ISBN: 1416916105
Hardcover Price: $15.99
It’s 1969, small-town South Carolina, and 13-year-old Karlene Bridges is determined to make it to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC. Karlene does not just love spelling words; she is a word lover in every sense.

But as Karlene prepares to focus on her goal, her father’s drinking problem appears to be getting worse. With her mother working extra hours to support the family, and her older sister Gloria Jean recently married and moved across town, Karlene unquestioningly assumes some grown-up responsibilities, including the care of her oblivious, young twin brothers. Studying for the spelling bee will have to wait.

Enter Mrs. Harrison, the new Latin teacher, filled with the vitality and worldliness seemingly missing in sleepy Shirley County. Wrapped in a white toga she proclaims: "I, Amanda Harrison, am an extraordinary individual who fully intends to transform each and every one of you knuckleheads into a scholar of Latin by the end of the year, not matter how much suffering it causes." Mrs. Harrison is just what the doctor ordered.

Karon Luddy’s debut novel reveals the roller coaster of adolescence with humor, caring and an infectious zeal for learning new words.

Melissa Fox   ©2007 Parents' Choice
Melissa Fox has been an independent bookseller for 10 years in Potomac, Maryland. Her specialty is young adult books and she loves to personally match teenager to book. She is married and has two daughters, one in college and one in high school.

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