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PaperQuake: A Puzzle Hardcover – May 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 - 8
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Series: Time Travel Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; 1 edition (May 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152011838
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152011833
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,254,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8AEighth-grader Violet, a triplet, is fragile and plain compared to her two popular sisters. Suddenly, she begins discovering mysterious messages from the time of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Old letters and diary entries refer to a girl named "V," who strangely resembles Violet herself in the 1990s, and there are hints that something terrible happened to "V" nearly 100 years ago. As the clues build up, Violet gradually figures out that she is being sent a warning from the past and fears for her life. The messages make Violet stand out from her sisters, and she discovers strength and resourcefulness she never knew she had. The story begins slowly as the various plot elements are laid out. As the clues start to come together, Violet's experiences become more absorbing. The repeated discoveries she makes seem too unlikely and coincidental at first, but when she learns that a force from the past has planted them in her way, it all makes sense. There is true excitement by the climax, as Violet discovers that the Golden Gate Bridge may collapse in a quake, and only she can prevent a tragedy. The resolution is particularly satisfying, as Violet not only saves the day, but resists the temptation to brag about her secret heroism. Although the protagonist is not a fully drawn character, this title should have strong appeal for fans of fantasy, ghosts, and time travel. Readers who persist through the slow beginning will be rewarded with an absorbing and suspenseful adventure.ASteven Engelfried, West Linn Public Library, OR
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 3^-6. Violet has always felt like the odd man out. One of triplets, she is the nonidentical sister, the frail and sickly one, and now, as an eighth-grade student in Berkeley, California, she's the one who's deathly afraid of earthquakes. Then fate singles Violet out in a new way: she's the one who starts dreaming of saving children in an earthquake and who keeps stumbling upon letters, diary pages, and newspaper articles concerning three young people in 1906, the time of the last big quake. Although the present-day characters keep remarking on the many coincidences that bring the documents into Violet's hands, their comments do little to lessen the plot's dependence on coincidence to drive the narrative. Readers willing to overlook that weakness will find plenty to keep them involved in the novel: Violet's well-drawn relationships with her sister, best friend, and first boyfriend; her insecurities that give way to emerging confidence; and a story that dramatizes the past a bit melodramatically but ties it to a more intriguing present. Carolyn Phelan

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By RachelF2 on June 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
WOW! If you want suspence, this is the book for you to read. I had a hard time putting it down. This is one of the best books I've read in a long time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
PaperQuake is a fascinating book about a teenage girl named Violet. Violet lives in California and is constanly nervous about earthquakes taking place. She is the daughter of florists, hence her name. She is also a triplet. Her sisters, Rose and Jasmine, are identical, and she is constantly feeling like the third wheel. In the past she hd heart problems, so she missed tons of school. She was forced to repeat a grade over again, so she is now stuck in a grade lower than her sisters. It bothers her that she is the outcast and that her family subconsiously treats her like a child, even though she is the same age as her sisters. One day Violet and her sisters take a bus to San Fransisco to clean their parent's new flower shop. While cleaning, Violet comes across an old letter written in the early 1900's. The odd thing is that it seems to be written to her. It even includes things that have taken place in Violet's life. Violet is dumbfounded, because there isn't any way that a letter from so long ago could be written to her-or could it? Violet sets out on a journey to find out more about who wrote these letters, and along the way she finally bonds with her sisters and finds herself. This story will have you puzzled from cover to cover. You will keep thinking you know what's going to happen, and then it's exactly the opposite. That's the great thing about this book. The book is a little slow at first, but once you get past the first few chapters you will find your eyes glued to the pages. This is one of the most amazing and imaginative books I have ever read, and I highly encourage you to check it out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This was not the first Kathryn Reiss book I have read, but by far one of the best. Their were endless kinks in the plot, which really made you keep reading because anything could happen. The end o and fimal climax is completely invisible from the begining of the book. This is a must read for anyone interested in fantasy, intruige, and a bit of history.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jenn Flaherty on January 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. I recomend this book to all ages. This is exceptionaly good for teenagers to read. The description painted a vivid picture in my mind. I am definatly going to read more of Kathryn Reiss's novels!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
Violet is struggling to cope with her fear of earthquakes, and the quakes that are stunning the Bay Area aren't letting her recover. Her sisters baby her, even though she is the same age as they are. Violet suffers from heart problems, and her family is afraid that she won't make it. She and her two sisters Rose and Jasmine are triplets, but a lot of people think that Violet is a younger sister. One weekend, while helping her two sisters clean up an old house so her parents can turn it into a flower shop, an aftershock dislodges a couple of letters addressed to `V', and Violet is confident that they are for her. One problem: they're dated 1906. More letters appear as time passes by, and the triplets try to solve the eerie mystery that lies behind the doorway of the past. One puzzle piece is missing though, and they may have to endure more than reading to find it...

I couldn't stop turning the pages of this book, and I wish there wasn't the back cover to stop me from going on. Kathryn Reiss is an amazing writer, and always holds you in suspense. I definitely recommend this book. It's a mix of action, mystery, magic and fantasy. Reiss really hooks the reader in and describes the scenes with amazing sensory details. The writing paints vivid pictures in your mind.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
First thing-- I disagree with Booklist's age recommendations. While they recommended grades 3 through 6, I feel the average third or fourth grader wouldn't not at all understand fulling the meaning of the story, and probably would have some trouble with it. I personally think that it would be understood better by anyone in fifth grade or above. As for interest levels, probably anyone above middle school (ending in grade 8) would find it not really worth their time. I am personally 13, in seventh grade, and enjoyed it thoroughly.
But beyond that- "Paperquake" was a great book, with a flowing plot and an interesting twist on your normal mystery. Through Reiss' writing, Violet comes to life with her problems, her intuitions, and her eccentricity. Weaving in and out of lives of those in 1906 and those in the current time, many exciting twists and connections are made thoughtfully. The only thing even slightly lacking is Violet's relationship with Sam. Would he, being a fourteen year old boy, truly be that understanding?
Overall, "Paperquake" is a delightful story, and I look forward to more of a similar type.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
You'll never guess the mystery!! It's a great book!!! I'm very picky with books, but I happened to like this one. The reason why I only gave it 4 stars was because the character was a little...I don't know...I didn't like her as much as I should have...but she was ok. Violet was one of triplets. She was the odd one though. She didn't look like her sisters. Her sisters looked identical, but she didn't. She also had open-heart surgery. Now she wants fit in with her sisters, so they go to San Francisco to fix up a building for their parents. As they work there, an earthquake hits. A few moments later, Violet finds a note addresssed to Baby V. Her parents and sisters call her that. In the beginning, she's positive that the notes are for her. With each earthquake, a note is found, meaning another clue has dropped in her lap. Slowly she and her sisters unravel a mystery. Violet's life is just about to change. Was she Baby V? Who was the person writing to her? And how could someone from nearly a century ago write to her? As she reads each note, coincedences pop up and she fears that their time for solving the mystery could be running out.
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More About the Author

I was born in Massachusetts, grew up in Ohio, and received B.A. degrees in English and German from Duke University, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan. After college, I lived in Bonn, Germany as a Fulbright Scholar, and during this time wrote the first draft of my first novel, TIME WINDOWS. Getting it published was a dream come true for me, and I am so honored that it's still in print more than twenty years later, has won awards, and had some interest from movie producers (but no film in the works yet...).

I've been a Writer in Residence for the Princeton Arts Council, a recipient of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Grant for Writers, and a featured speaker with (among others) Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, The Northern California Library Association, The International Reading Association, Fresno County Office of Education, California Reading Association, The American Library Association, and the National Council of Teachers of English.

My husband and I live in Northern California, in a rambling mid-19th century house with an unruly garden. We have seven children, as well as a new daughter-in-law, plus assorted pets: dogs, cats, fish. When not at home with my family or working on a new book, I teach Creative Writing at Mills College, where I am a Professor of English.

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