Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Three Times Lucky by Shelia Turnage

Three Times Lucky
by Shelia Turnage
312 pages
Tween Mystery

Book Jacket Summary
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. Full of wisdom, humor, and grit, this timeless yarn will melt the heart of even the sternest Yankee.

My Thoughts
To sum up this book I would go with: quirky characters and southern charm. The book focuses on the small town of Tupelo Landing and Mo, an eleven-year-old orphan, who tries to solve the murder of a local man. I really enjoyed this book and the way Turnage writes her characters.

The best part is:
  "Hey," she said. "I caught a ride with Mama so I wouldn't mess up your phone tap. She brought y'all a broccoli casserole."
  I gasped.
  "Broccoli casserole? Your mama's Death Dish?" Dale said, looking up from the tangle of worn pillow lines at his feet. "Who died? What have your heard?"
  "Nobody" she said quickly. "Gosh, I'm sorry, Mo. Everything's fine We just didn't know what to bring for a kidnapping, but that seems to comfort people then somebody... goes away." (241-242)
This is such a small town southern thing to do. To have a specific Death Dish that someone brings to funerals or the grieving family is something that is so typical and just done. I feel like the characters and situations that come up in this small town are so true. Especially the way people interact with each other. These are people who are willing to drop everything and come the aid of Mo when she is left alone after her guardians go missing. They are like an extended family for Mo, who does not know her roots. I like that feeling in the book and it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
 I am falling in love with the tween books I have been reading lately and have been enjoying them more than their YA counterparts. They are more of a character study with quirky characters and not as much angst. Don't get me wrong, I love YA but every once in a while a girl needs a break from the love triangles and teen drama. Mo is such a feisty character and a spitball. Willing to go into situations that others are afraid of and looking for her guardians in the scariest places. I also like that she and Dale are best friends and nothing else. Mo is actually "in love" with his older brother, Lavender, and follows him everywhere.
This is a great book for tweens who are looking for a mystery and some humor thrown in. Great characters and a fun, yet at time suspenseful, plot.

Book Pairings
Keeper by Kathi Appelt
The Moon Over High Street by Natalie Babbitt
True (...Sort Of) by Katherine Hannigan


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