From School Library Journal
Grade 6-8–Thirteen-year-old Charlie and her seven-year-old brother, Jerry, live in the house built by her grandfather. Her father loves it even though the neighborhood has changed since his youth. Charlie and her family, nonetheless, are stunned when their next door neighbor is murdered. Mr. Healy was a friend and his home was a haven for an array of neighborhood kids. When Jim, one of the man's former boarders, involves Charlie and Jerry in identifying the killers, they find themselves enmeshed in a dangerous and altogether real mystery. Ultimately, the entire neighborhood is rocked by revenge killings, and the community is forced to take a hard look at itself. Characterizations are entirely plausible and memorable: Charlie's dad, who doesn't want to accept the changes that surround him; the boys who have become ensnared in drugs and violence but still show the occasional glimmers of connections to earlier times; and a host of secondary eccentrics who live on or around Lanvale Street. The city itself, presumably Baltimore, becomes a character, providing a gritty, sometimes unbearably brutal backdrop for this achingly realistic story. The staccato pace of Charlie's narrative is riveting, revealing the action as she lives it. Readers will have to accept, as Charlie comes to, that coping with death and violence is something that everyone does in a unique way, that change may be gradual and at great cost, but that it can–and will–happen.–Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at Washington DC Public Library
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About the Author
Jane Leslie Conly is the author of the critically acclaimed Trout Summer (an ALA Notable and Best Book for Young Adults). She is also the author of While No One Was Watching, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book, as well as the Newbery Honor book Crazy Lady!