Monday, February 18, 2008

Up from Jericho Tel, by E. L. Konigsburg

Up from Jericho Tel, by E. L. Konigsburg.  4.5/5.  This young adult novel is interesting and different.  Not everything interesting is good, but this book is good.  Jeanmarie, who doesn't like the clones at her school, becomes friends with Malcolm when she finds and buries a dead bird with his help.  This becomes a ritual for them until they end up underground with Talllulah, a dead actress with a dog named Spot.  Jeanmarie wants to be an actress.  Tallulah has a crime to solve.  Malcolm becomes involved even though he's not sure he wants to.  Tallulah has lots of advice for the youngsters who enjoy their adventures doing Tallulah's bidding.  They are looking for dishonesty, and, unfortunately, finding it.  They learn some valuable life-lessons in the process, and it is entertaining to see how.  We meet "buskers," or street performers trying to make it into the world of theater.  To be an actress, Tallulah says, you need three things:  talent, timing (or luck) and one other--that you  have to wait until the end of the book to learn.  It's a good one, but I would add a fourth.  It does come up in the book--and that's persistence or stick-to-itiveness.  One of the characters has persistence but no talent.  The book is a mystery, but not a normal one.  If you are tired of formulaic novels, read this one.  It is definitely different.

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