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Hiding Out at the Pancake Palace Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 580L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (April 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596437537
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596437531
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #481,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8-Internationally known, super-famous Elvis Ruby gets stage fright and freezes up in front of millions of people, on live TV. Where can he hide? Marino deposits the 11-year-old in the Pinelands of New Jersey at a family friend's small breakfast diner, where he hopes to get the anonymity he needs and a break from the relentless paparazzi who follow his every move. Elvis cuts his trademark locks, dyes his hair a mousy brown, and goes incognito as Aaron. However, when you have that sparkle in your eyes and that pizzazz in your personality, incognito can be a difficult place to be. And a chance meeting with a girl named Cecilia threatens to disrupt the very calm that Aaron needs. Family legend has it that on the night she was born, the trees sang. Cecilia is desperate to hear that song again, to know that it really happened, and that even the nonmusical people of the world really do have a song hidden within their soul. Can Aaron help her regain hers at the same time that she inadvertently helps him regain his, without blowing his cover? Marino has written a timely and expertly executed novel about what it means to discover yourself. Aaron and Cecilia are both likable and flawed at the same time. Their desire to find themselves as they stumble through the shadows of the trees late at night is a wonderful metaphor for adolescence. Put this book in the hands of both the girls who follow every moment of the latest teen celebrity's life and the quiet boys and girls who stand on the sidelines, listening for their song.-Lisa Kropp, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

In the latest novel by the author of Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me (2009), Elvis is alive and well and living in Wares Groves, New Jersey. Elvis Ruby, that is. The aptly named 11-year-old singing sensation is looking to escape the spotlight after blowing his shot to win the television competition Tween Star. The plan is to go incognito at a family friend’s restaurant, where he learns to make amazing pancakes and gets to know Cecilia, a local misfit. Exploring the surrounding Pine Barrens, the pair hear music in nature, create their own tunes, and bond . . . until the paparazzi track Elvis down and things go back to, well, basically the same as before. Lacking the real charm and truly quirky characters usually expected from a stranger-comes-to-town stories, this book is about unkept secrets and how both celebrities and loners have real feelings. If not exactly earth-shattering news, these issues, along with the interwoven legend of the Jersey Devil, make for an entertaining read. Grades 3-6. --Andrew Medlar

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Library mom on April 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved Nan Marino's first book, "Neil Armstrong is My Uncle," which came out in 2009. Her ability to create an assortment of original characters which a reader genuinely cares about immediately made me yearn for another story from this lyrical writer. Finally, she delivers with "Hiding Out at the Pancake Palace." Setting is very important to Marino and she depicts the pine lands of New Jersey with great care. She introduces two very interesting and different characters in Cecilia and Elvis Ruby. Cecilia is the NJ native who believes if she can just find a certain song that played on the day she was born, she will discover some truth about herself. Elvis is a musical prodigy who is hiding out in Cecilia's hometown in order to get over his disastrous performance on the hit television show, TweenStar. These two characters are polar opposites, and yet lightning strikes when they meet and help one another. The two stories intertwine delightfully and the reader will be routing for both children to get what they need. Ms. Marino is a gifted author who grabs the reader on page 1 and doesn't let go. Her writing is succinct, humorous and quite often, poetic. This book will delight 5th and 6th grade readers as well as teachers who are looking for a great discussion novel. I hope I won't have too wait long for Nan Marino's next novel. In fact, I'd love to see a companion book which delves into the insane world of TweenStar! Well done!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pop Bop TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Did you ever have a blueberry muffin where the blueberries were plump and flavorful and plentiful but the cake batter itself was sort of bland? It was a good blueberry muffin but not a great blueberry muffin. That's sort of how I think about this book. It has some great scenes and lines and characters, but taken as a whole it's a little hard to swallow. Here's why.

The premise is very creative. Elvis Ruby is a genius performer who is slicing though the equivalent of a youth version of American Idol. He is the anointed certain-to-win contestant. But at the final episode he walks onto the stage and totally freezes. Totally. Humiliated, he becomes the laughing stock of pop culture America. His stage father dad takes him to the New Jersey Pine Barrens and drops him off with the Dad's sister, who runs the Pancake Palace. The idea is for Elvis to hide out, regroup, and plan his next move. So far, so good.

The problem is that the author picks up, tries out, and then abandons about half a dozen characters and an equal number of plot turns and subplots, any of which are better than what does eventually happen. (Mild spoilers, but not plot points, ahead.)

The book starts with Cecilia, a melancholy young girl who lives across from the Pancake Palace. She's lonely, restless and trying to figure out who she is and where she fits in. She is spunky and observant and speaks with a fresh and engaging voice. She captures the reader, establishes a bemused but hopeful tone, and then basically disappears as a factor in the story until it's time to wrap up the book. The Aunt, who only serves pancakes, is an opinionated strong-willed hoot. She lasts two or three chapters before stepping offstage.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael John Sullivan on January 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I first found Nan Marino's debut novel, Neil Armstrong is my Uncle, a couple of years ago while browsing in a bookstore. I picked it up due to a recommendation by an avid reader. I enjoyed the original premise behind the story and how the talented author weaved history inside a sweet story with a wonderful message. It was a book I couldn't put down and I didn't.

So, I anxiously awaited her next novel and she didn't disappoint.

I must admit I tend to steer my reading time in the direction of writers who have the ability to tell a story with a unique angle. Marino does this again. I love the way she sets up the scenes and how the characters jump into our lives and grab our hearts. Having lived in New Jersey and been to the southern parts of the Garden State, I found it particularly appealing to read how the characters survived and lived.

It's a story about friendship.

The story flows with ease and you see how friendship can carry you a long way through struggles and challenges. It shows how even people who are not alike at all can help each other achieve your goals, even in the craziest worlds.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Going Green on June 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I couldn't put it down; I even heard the music of the Pinelands in a few places while reading. The characters are well developed and I love how the author has little snippets with the Jersey Devil interspersed throughout. The setting is very realistic. A great read.
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