Monday, February 24, 2014

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage

Sometimes I just want to read a book and not take notes. Just enjoy the story in a passive way. That romantic notion doesn't work for my noggin. When it comes to writing a review I can't remember all the thoughts I had along the way. Nor can I remember the great lines in this story. Nor do I want to go back and reread it. I just want to be lazy. So here's a lazy review. If you are wondering why I'm even bothering to write a review it's so that I can book talk with students. This was a fun book and I don't want to forget it even if I feel guilty for not giving this review my best.

This picks up with the same characters from "Three Times Lucky." You'll want to read that book first to understand all the minor characters and background information. The author weaves in the back-story of Mo LeBeau, but details such as the "upstream mom," Lana's penchant for wigs, Dale's no-good father, to name a few are going to be more appreciated if you read book one; plus, it's a great book. I read the book over a year ago and there were some people I couldn't quite place at first.

Miss Lana buys an old rundown inn that is for auction at Tupelo Landing discovering that it is haunted by a ghost. Mo and her best friend, Dale, who started the "Desperado Detective Agency" in the previous book, decide to open a paranormal division in order to solve the identity of the ghost. When Harm Crenshaw comes to town their first impression is that he's a jerk, but the three become friends when the clues lead them to Harm's grandfather. 

Mo struggles a bit with Harm and Dale becoming friends and being left out of some activities. She's got such a unique personality that she deals with issues in ways that can be offensive because she is so blunt but it is balanced by her good heart. I like how she doesn't get too sentimental or emotional about things. Ghosts don't frighten her much. Angry adults don't frighten her much. She can stand her ground and be the sense of reason even when it isn't appropriate such as reminding Dale's mom that her husband is better in jail than out. She sounds too adultlike at times, but she's usually so funny I didn't care. Jack Gantos in his Norvelt sequel does the same thing. I'm not sure if young readers even notice that but I like the unique character voices.

The author captures small-town gossipy life with a community where people know everyone's business. The theme of the past haunting people is explored in this story through the lives of several characters from Dale's mom, Red, Lacy, and Nellie. Mo is still writing to her non-existent mom and there is a hint at the end as to who her family might be. I'm thinking there might be a book 3? Hope so. I do like Turner's entertaining stories.

4 Smileys

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