The Girl from Felony BayThompson, J.E. New York, Walden Pond Press, 2013. ISBN-13: 978-0-06-210446-5
Quantitative Reading Level: Reading Level 5.3
Qualitative Reading Analysis:
According to the “Text Complexity: Qualitative Measures Rubric for Literary Text” I would rate this as Middle Low. Because it is a mystery and there are some complexities with that the book’s structure is a little more difficult. There are no shifts in point of view and there are only rare flashbacks. The language is contemporary and familiar. Although the book takes places in the south the book does not use dialect. There are a few allusions to pirates and the Civil War but they are not too complex and do not make a lot of demands on the reader.
Abbey has had a rough year. Her dad has been injured and is in a coma and, to make matters worse, he has been accused of a crime and can't speak in his own defense. To right the wrong, the family plantation has been sold and Abbey has been forced to live with her Uncle Charlie and Aunt Ruth. In addition, she has had run-ins with a local bully. It doesn't look like it will be a good summer. But then Bee, whose father bought the plantation and whose ancestors were slaves of Abbey's ancestors, moves in. Together they decide they will figure out who really stole Miss Jenkins jewels, find out what Uncle Charlie, Aunt Ruth, and the Deputy Sheriff are up to, and maybe help some neighbors along the way.
Reading / ELA
With the books connections to pirates and the Civil War readers could do some extra research into those two topics in order to increase their background knowledge. Students could find out about other possible hidden treasure.
Interview with the Author:
I enjoyed this book. There was good character development of both Abbey and Bee. It was a good mystery. I figured out the plot twist about half way through but the intended readers probably wouldn’t figure it out as quickly. There was good action and suspense and a good lesson about friendship, loyalty, and hope. This is a new book and, as a member of the committee for the Maine Student Book Award, I see it as having potential for being on next year’s list.
Subjects/Themes: Greed, Heroism, Power and Corruption
Abbey Force: a girl whose father is in a coma and has been accused of stealing Miss Jenkins jewelry
Bee Force: the girl who moved into Abbey’s old plantation, no relation except that her ancestors were owned by Abbey’s ancestors
High Interest Annotation: What could be better than a book about gold, gators, mystery, and some new friendships that bring hope?