Sunday, May 31, 2009
Sunday Salon - Edgar Winner - The Postcard by Tony Abbott
Tony Abbott's mystery, The Postcard, is everything a reader should expect of the Edgar Winner for Best Juvenile Mystery. It's fast-paced, intriguing, with two captivating lead characters, and an original plot. It sucked me in from the very beginning with the words, "She died today."
At thirteen, Jason Huff, is smart enough to know his family is falling apart. His mother is a big shot at a Boston bank, while his father goes from one job to the next. So, when his mother packs him off to St. Petersburg, FL to be with his father, whose mother just died, Jason knows nothing good will come of it. And, he hates St. Petersburg, with its heat and humidity, old people, and cruddy houses. And, he thinks Dia Martin, the girl down the street, is just plain weird, with her lawn mowing, sarcastic humor, and the names she calls him. But, when Jason's father falls off a ladder and ends in the hospital, it's the old lady next door, and Dia, who come to his rescue. Jason has discovered he needs to stay in Florida, and doesn't want to go home.
It all started at his grandmother's funeral, when a really odd group of people showed up. And, the eulogy mentioned Marnie, which wasn't his grandmother's name. Things just get weirder when Jason receives a phone call that says, "So how smart are you?" That phone call leads him to a sixty-year-old postcard, and then on a wild chase with Dia.
Jason grows up in the course of the story, beginning with the sympathy he suddenly feels for his father. Although he lost a grandmother he never really knew, it dawns on him that his father lost his mother, a woman he might have had problems with, but his mother nonetheless. And, in the course of The Postcard, Jason realizes the story he's reading is blending into real life. But, he's mature enough to realize that we all have stories in our lives, and sometimes its more important to know what we believe about life, than what other people see.
Abbott skillfully combines postcards, an old magazine and a historical St. Petersburg with modern life. It takes a thirteen-year-old boy to discover the romance and mystery present in all of those elements. And, it takes The Postcard to capture the magic of the past in a riveting, suspenseful caper.
Tony Abbott's website is www.tonyabbottbooks.com
The Postcard by Tony Abbott. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, ©2008. ISBN 9780316011723 (hardcover), 368p.