--School Library Journal
"Good Graces is filled with sensitivity and wit."
"A...spot on sequel to her bestselling debut, Whistling in the Dark. Kagen does a remarkable job of balancing the goofiness of an eleven-year-old with the sinister plot points, creating a suspenseful yarn that still retains an air of genuine innocence. Readers who enjoyed the first story are in for a treat."
"Good Graces deftly dwells in '60's Milwaukee. Through her preteen narrator, Sally O'Malley, she (Kagen) evokes the joys, sorrows and complexities of growing up..."
-Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Spend happy hours following the O'Malley sisters through the sweltering summer of 1960 on Milwaukee's West Side. This humorous, passionate novel of childhood is full of evocative local detail and the lives of wild, smart children."
"Moving, funny, and full of unexpected delights, this is one sequel that just might be even better than the original gem. Kagen crafts a gorgeous pageturner about love, loss and loyalty, all told in the sparkling voices of two extraordinary sisters."
--Caroline Leavitt, New York Times Bestselling author of Pictures of You
"A beautifully woven story...You will weep for and cheer on the O'Malley sisters...[and] immediately miss them once the last page is turned."
--Heather Gudenkauf, author of These Things HiddenThe Weight of Silence
Praise for New York Times bestseller Whistling in the Dark, winner of the Midwest Choice Award for fiction and named a "Hot Summer Read" by the Chicago Tribune:
"Bittersweet and beautifully rendered, Whistling in the Dark, is the story of two young sisters and a summer jam-packed with disillusionment and discovery. These girls triumph. So does Kagen. Don't miss it."
-Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants and Ape House
"A sophisticated charmer of a first novel. Sally's voice...is innocently wise and ultimately captivating."
-The Milwaukee Journal
"Kagen sharply depicts the vulnerability of children of any era. Sally...makes an enchanting protagonist."
"The plot is a humdinger...a certifiable grade-A summer read."
-The Capital Times
From the Author
When I sent my debut novel, Whistling in the Dark, out into the world four years ago, I kept my fingers crossed that readers would connect with my two little girls stumbling through a bygone era. To my astonishment, and profound gratitude, readers not only seemed to enjoy the story, they clamored for more!
Of course, I was thrilled by their enthusiastic response, but when I sat down to tackle Good Graces it was with more than a little trepidation. I'd never written a sequel before, and so much time had passed. Would I be able to recapture the characters' voices, the feel of the block? I couldn't have been more surprised when I fell back into the O'Malley sisters lived so easily. I suspect it's because I grew up on the west side of Milwaukee during the 1950's in a neighborhood very similar to the one where the stories are set. The lingo of those days, the clothing, the movies and music, it's a part of me. My history.
I'm often asked if it's difficult to tell a story through the eyes of a young narrator. Not really. Children's language may be less developed, their perceptions immature, but we share something vital that makes it easy for me to connect with them. Emotional cores. Hopefully, without the armor of adulthood getting in the way, the kid in me can connect with the kid in you so we can get down to the nitty-gritty of life...our feelings.
I hope you enjoy reading about the further adventures of the O'Malley sisters, and their friends and neighbors on Vliet Street, as much as I enjoyed writing about them again. It felt good to be home.