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Peeled Hardcover – May 1, 2008

4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The orchard-growing community of Banesville, New York, is known as The Happiest Town in the Happy Apple Valley. But the sleepy town is stricken with hysteria and fear after a series of spooky happenings, and then a death occurs near the abandoned Ludlow House. As Pen Piedmont, the editor of the local paper, publishes fear-mongering headlines, high-school reporter Hildy determines to find the true story behind the incidents and settle her community’s growing unrest. Although there are several puzzling incidents at the story’s center (Is there a plot against Banesville’s citizens? If so, who’s involved?), readers will be most drawn by Hildy’s growing excitement, relayed in her own strong, witty voice, as she learns from a cantankerous, demanding mentor what it takes to be a journalist. Hildy’s romance with a fellow student feels underdeveloped, and the object of her affection is a bit too good to be true. But Bauer’s gleeful wordplay, her sure sense of setting, the details of newspaper life, and the many colorful side characters make this a pleasurable read that may encourage teens to consider deeper questions about family farms, urban sprawl, and the many who profit from public fear. See the adjacent column for more novels about aspiring young journalists. Grades 6-9. --Gillian Engberg


Bauer introduces a feisty, funny teenage heroine who stays true to her mission and herself ... Highly entertaining. -- Kirkus Reviews

[Hildy's] crisp, declarative narration, subtly emulating a journalistic style, sings with tart humor and quixotic purpose. -- Horn Book

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: HL620L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Juvenile; 1 edition (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399234756
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399234750
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,509,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joan Bauer has won numerous awards for her twelve (soon to be thirteen) novels for young readers, among them, the Newbery Honor Medal, the American Library Association's Schneider Family Book Award, two Christopher Awards, the LA Times Book Prize, the Chicago Tribune Young adult Literary Prize, the Golden Kite Award of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and most recently, the St. Katherine Drexel Award of the Catholic Library Association. A NY Times Best-selling author, speaker, and songwriter, she has been a guest on local and national radio shows, and she has been sent to both Croatia and Kazakhstan by the State Department as part of its Professional Speakers Program to speak at schools, universities, libraries, and writers' groups. 

Joan has also been a recipient of the Judy Lopez Memorial Award; the ASTAL Award for Outstanding Contributions to Literature for Young People; the Michigan Thumbs-up! Award for Children's Literature; the Delacorte Prize for a First Young Adult Novel; the Pacific Northwest Library Association Award; the New Jersey Reading Association M. Jerry Weiss Award; the New England Booksellers Award; and the Boston Public Library's "Literary Light" Award. Her novels have been nominated extensively for state book awards, in addition to appearing on  ALA Notable Books, ALA Best Books, ALA Quick Picks, American Bookseller Pick of the List, School Library Journal Best Books, Smithsonian Notable Children's Books, VOYA's Perfect 10s. Her novel Rules of the Road was chosen as one of the top young adult books of the quarter century by the American Library Association. Her thirteenth novel, Soar, will be published in January 2016.

Joan is a member of the Writers Guild of America East, the Authors Guild, PEN, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband Evan and their intrepid wheaten terrier Max. She enjoys cooking, playing the piano, hiking, songwriting, and ice skating (as long as she has enough time for a slow stop).

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Peeled, the latest from Newbery Honor winner Joan Bauer, has a most enticing cover. As soon as I saw it, I wanted to read this book.

Hildy lives in a small town in upstate New York with an apple-based economy. Hildy fits in her ambitions to be a journalist between her duties on the family farm- baking, picking and giving tours to elementary school kids. The big festival every year is around harvest time. She is the best writer for her high school newspaper, "The Core" (see the theme here?). When freaky things start happening at the old Ludlow house in town, Hildy knows it's bunk, but isn't sure how to prove it.

Hildy always uses the 5 W's in her questioning (who? what? when? where? why?) and her friends (including cute science geek Zack) to arrive at the truth, and doesn't skip over the hard parts. She's determined and gutsy, and doesn't even back down when the articles she prints start to make some grownups angry. Hildy is a strong female protagonist and this book would be great for kids interested in journalism or creative writing. There's nothing offensive or romantic in here, so this would work for even upper elementary readers.
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Format: Paperback
As a mother who screens everything her very precocious twelve-year-year daughter reads, I've been finding it even more necessary now to read everything listed as "Young Adult" before said child does. There are so, so many great books out there that are wonderful for teenagers, but the gap between 12-going-on-13 and 16 years old is quite a gap, and I'm beginning to think publishers may want to start listing their books like they do in the movie industry. 12-going-on-13s like to read about high school - but not all that is described in books about high school kids are quite appropriate for 12-going-on-13s! This is especially true for cutely-drawn manga literature, but also true for recommended award-winning books. This is the primary reason I fall back on the classics like "War and Peace," which said daughter is actually really enjoying. Happily, I found "Peeled" by Jane Bauer to be an excellent book set in a small-town high school, and so was delighted to recommend it to said child. Her review of "Peeled" follows:

[ Hildy Biddle is a sixteen-year-old reporter for her high school newspaper, The Core. Unfortunately, the big story is about the old Ludlow house ... and its ghost. But as the "ghost" grows more and more violent and the people more and more scared, can The Core get to the bottom of the mystery? Or will Banesville, New York become a haunted theme park??

[ My favorite characters were Minska and Lacey. I really liked how Minska always stood up for revolutions and changes for the better. I also liked how Lacey was really sweet and nice and actually cared about the little people in the world.
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Format: Hardcover
There is nothing more that sixteen-year-old Banesville High School junior, Hildy Biddle, wants, than to be a serious, hard-hitting journalist. Someone who breaks the big news before anyone else. Interviews countless people on a quest for an unsuspected scoop. But, as much as Hildy loves her hometown of Banesville, New York, the little apple harvesting town can't exactly be called a hotspot for news. In fact, some of the biggest stories have involved the Apple Blossom Queen, farmer's market scandals, and hotheaded city officials. That is, until the story of a lifetime drops right into Hildy's lap.

For decades people have embellished and spread rumors about a ghost that supposedly resides in the old Ludlow house. A ghost who is evil, has murdered people in the past, and is determined to kill again. Many in Banesville have believed these stories; Hildy has always written them off as rumors. But when controversy revolving around the old Ludlow house, and a ghost begin to resurface, Hildy knows that she has to be on the case. As the top reporter at her high school's newspaper, Hildy is aware that the responsibility of writing and publishing the facts for readers is up to her; therefore, she's determined to solve the mystery, and put it in writing for the world - or, at least all of Banesville - to see. But when you're sixteen-years-old, not everyone is interested in taking you, or your quest for journalistic integrity, seriously; especially when you're up against a local newspaper like The Bee. Anyone with a brain knows that The Bee, along with its publisher and editor, Pen Piedmont, is a farce. The stories are fabricated, blown out of proportion, and more often than not, completely inaccurate. Unfortunately, much of Banesville relies on this fodder for their information.
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Format: Hardcover
Rumors of a haunted house ignite the curiosity of teen reporter Hildy Biddle. She starts investigating the story only to have her school newspaper shut down. What Hildy uncovers and how she overcomes the obstacles that would have her silenced are at the core of Joan Bauer's new book, PEELED.

Bauer regularly writes about adolescents who work. Her Newbery Honor book HOPE WAS HERE is about a teen waitress. RULES OF THE ROAD features a young shoe salesperson. PEELED ambitiously takes on the subject of investigative reporting and responsible journalism.

The book is set in the community of Banesville, which has an economy almost entirely dependent on apple growers. Several bad harvests have the farmers and the town struggling. The mayor keeps promising a community redevelopment project without providing any details. The ensuing conflict --- pitting town farmers against the forces of commerce with an inevitable showdown against a bulldozer --- has a hint of melodrama some readers may have encountered before.

The story's villains --- a turban-wearing psychic, a muckraking journalist who goes by the name of Pen Piedmont, and an unscrupulous mayor --- are also stock characters from melodrama, as is the mysterious "haunted" house at the center of the controversy.

It is the other characters in the novel --- the "good guys" --- who make PEELED worth reading. Hildy's plucky heroism puts her in the company of other teenage sleuths. What makes her unique is her methods of investigation and reporting. Her extensive research and interviewing techniques provide excellent models for effective and responsible investigative journalism.
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