Friday, May 18, 2012

MG Mystery: Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Publisher: Dial
Date: May 10, 2012
Format: ARC
Source: publisher
Read: for review (disclaimer: I received my copy of this book in return for an honest review.)
Pages: 312
Reading time: three days

From GoodReads: Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone's business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she's been making waves ever since. Although Mo hopes someday to find her "upstream mother," she's found a home with the Colonel--a café owner with a forgotten past of his own--and Miss Lana, the fabulous café hostess. She will protect those she loves with every bit of her strong will and tough attitude. So when a lawman comes to town asking about a murder, Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, set out to uncover the truth in hopes of saving the only family Mo has ever known.

My review: I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed this! Southern-flavor novels are often hit-or-miss with me; either the author captures the Southern aspects very well or else they're overexaggerated and irritating. Fortunately, Ms. Turnage captures the unique aspects of backwoods North Carolina culture perfectly - it's obvious she's a native of the state! She plays up the characteristics well, accenting the things that make the area stand out without at all degrading the people or seeming superficial.

I was also pleased at how excellent Turnage's writing is. Though Three Times Lucky is aimed at an older children's/middle grade audience, nothing is oversimplified, and the vocabulary used seems fairly sophisticated. Even as a young adult, I found the novel quite fun to read and at times even laugh-out-loud hilarious. The plot was perfectly paced and developed, with nary a dull spot or rushed sequence. I loved all the colorful characters, and all their actions and motives seemed perfectly cohesive, never inconsistent. I will be so disappointed if we do not later hear more about the escapades of the precocious Miss Moses LoBeau! 

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