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on January 25, 2004
Respected author E. L. Konigsburg is in fine form and high spirits in this latest book. While the characters are witty and sure to appeal to readers who often find themselves on the fringes of society, the real strong point of the book is its message. The first matter handled here is the need to be an individual. Margaret, as well as much of the cast, prefers to march to her own beat and is capable of handling the pressure. This theme runs as an undercurrent, something that is taken for granted rather than presented as the leading difficulty. The second major theme is the purpose or 'apurpose' of art. Taking a page from Wilde, Konigsburg proudly stands up for all art- art in school, art at home, art in public- as being quite useless and beautiful for it. While once or twice almost getting weighed down in expansive speeches, this theme shines through. The third and most subtle theme is one of life. It took me a while to realize what about this book was so stunning and it is that unlike most books, 'Outcasts' recognizes that no event or set of events can ever make life perfect. Regardless of the Towers' fate (I wouldn't dare tell you), Margaret's life goes on. People hurt one another, people change, people die and nothing can alter that. But it is art and the experience of a life lived artfully that can make all things bearable. Many books tell children that by overcoming some obstacle, everything that goes wrong in life can be fixed. Konigsburg teaches here that while much can be fixed, life will never be without struggle. And that it is how you live your life that makes the difference. For that reason, I think the book makes a wonderful read and a stong candidate for 2004. 'Outcasts' is a thing of beauty- from its glorious cover art to the detailed craft of the writing and it has certainly set the standard for any books premiering this coming year.
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on October 30, 2005
The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place is an awesome realistic fiction book written by author E.L. Konigsburg. After being rescued from camp, 12-year- old Margaret Kane is living with her unique uncles for the summer. Suddenly she finds out the plot for a horrendous deed that threatens the whole reason she loves her uncles house so much. Join Margaret as she tries to rescue her favorite piece of history.

This was an overall excellent book but it had its rough spots. The ending is what I didn't like about the book. It was okay, but it wasn't an "happily ever after". On the flip side, my favorite part was the uncles' philosophy about life. It made me think about how I live mine.

My favorite characters in this book were Alex and Morris Rose, Margaret's uncles. They are so old-fashioned; it's hard not to enjoy their personalities.

The most meaningful lines to me in this book comes from Morris on page 147." History has no end. As soon as I say this word history, it is part of history. No one should be allowed to take away some ones history. No one." The first part made me realize that everything becomes part of some ones history. A compliment and an insult could be remembered for a long time. I really agree with the second part. If you destroy a picture of someone, you are destroying a memory that could never be replaced.

If you asked me about this book, I would probably tell you that it is a really cool book that makes you think a lot, but don't expect everything to be all right in the end. The only question I have after reading this book is how Margaret's uncles feel about the end result of what she did.
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VINE VOICEon February 1, 2004
Having first read OUTCASTS last October (My review is online at RichiesPicks) I laughed and cried my way through it for the third time today. In the way that I knew immediately upon reading them that BUD NOT BUDDY and HOLES would be Newbery Medal winners, I am confident that this literary masterpiece will at least earn a Newbery Honor next January, will gain dozens of state awards over the next 3 or 4 years, and will be taught in classrooms all over the place. Yes, it's THAT good. Packed with enough humor, heart, and mischievousness for a dozen books, THE OUTCASTS OF 19 SCHUYLER PLACE becomes the yardstick by which I'll measure 2004.
Richie Partington
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on March 8, 2005
Margaret Rose Kane's Uncle Alex said that "you couldn't stop history from happening because the entire past tense is history." But Margaret Rose had a plan. ad she was ready to change history.

Twelve year-old Margaret Rose Kane "prefered not to" go to summer camp, and so when her uncle Alex comes and saves her from the dreaded Camp Taquela, her real summer adventures begin.

This book is full of wit. I have read From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, also written by E.L. Konigsburg and The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place is the better one by far. This book has a very difficult vocabulary, so I recommend it mostlly for girls 12 and older. If you love an interesting and suspenseful book, then GO FOR IT!
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on January 26, 2004
This book sings! You will be able to hear songs of true courage, friendship, and hope. I highly recommend it for people of all ages who love words and marvels. I was enthralled by every character and every page.
E.L. Konigsburg is one of the greatest writers on this planet, no doubt for her perfect language and ability to touch your heart and mind. A real gem.
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on August 27, 2005
This is truly vintage E.L.Konigsburg. Another masterpiece soaked through with her unique wit and charm. Margaret Rose Kane is not only precocious but also as likable as she is brave. Every character is three-dimensioned and full; even the ones that are hard to like such as Mrs Kaplan are the way they are for a reason.

Konigsburg's story is like the towers featured in the book: it sings of the joy of making something big and beautiful; of integrity; of extravagance. Without it, our literary world would be "less beautiful, and a lot less fun".
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on August 7, 2004
My 30 year old sister gave it to me (her significantly older sister) and our mother...we all loved it. I started reading and couldn't put it down. Love a book that doesn't dumb down because the target audience is younger than college age...E.L.K. uses great vocabulary and refers to interesting places and things in the world without pulling us out of the story.

The story is the thing...funny, touching, and suspenseful.

Colorful writing is nothing without a good story and characters you care about and I was in love with Margaret Rose Kane and her uncles right off the bat.

Went out and bought two other E.L.K. books - hoping for a similarly pleasant experience.
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on July 20, 2012
I know that you'd like me to tell you about this book, but I prefer not to...Or so I would say if my name was Margaret Rose Kane! However, it's not, so I'll indulge your curiosity! The book, as you may have guessed, centers on a very incorrigible young girl name Margaret Rose who, having refused to participate in many of the group activities offered by her summer camp and having been treated cruelly by the clique that inhabits her bungalow, is returned back to the home of her two Hungarian uncles by an irate camp director who thinks she's the queen of her own little domain. Margaret's unexpected arrival at her uncles' home, necessary due to her parent's summer trip to Peru, sets about a cascade of events that leads to a memorable summer. The uncles, who have spent much of their lives in America building beautiful metal clock towers in their backyard and decorating them with glimmering glass pendants, have been fighting a losing war against the destruction of the towers: a war they've hidden from Margaret. When she finally learns of the local homeowners association's determination to raze the structures in order to "raise property values" and contribute to the "historical redevelopment" of the neighborhood, Margaret is incensed and determined to prevent the tragedy at all costs. She recruits a varied cast of characters - including the son of her former camp director, on whom she has a bit of a crush, and a big, lovable dog named Tarufo - to aid in her rescue mission. Her attempt is fraught with many heart-breaking as well as hilarious moments and often feels doomed to failure. Margaret's spirit is strong and not one to break, even in the face of a force of firemen and angry city officials, but will it be enough to save the towers?

Although this book wasn't quite as fun as the other Konigsburg books that I enjoyed (I think I was spoiled by the delightful From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler), it was a nice one to listen to with my parents during our weekly jaunts to the supermarket and the beach. Margaret is a bit of a brat, but she's a likable one whose spirit the reader can't help but admire. Her supporting cast of characters, including her adorable uncles and their dog, round off the book nicely. All in all, the book was a good read that teaches several basic truths including the importance of remaining true to oneself even in the face of cruelty and prejudice. I was disappointed with the ending but felt that it fit with the entire theme of the book and reinforced the theme that, though life isn't always perfect, we can still find beauty and meaning in it.
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on June 17, 2004
THE OUTCASTS OF 19 SCHUYLER PLACE is the follow-up to SILENT TO THE BONE by two-time Newbery Medal-winning author E.L. Konigsburg. Margaret Rose Kane tells the story of the summer when she was twelve, the same year that Sally Ride became the first American woman in space and Cabbage Patch dolls were popular toys.
Margaret is sent to summer camp while her parents travel in Peru. Shunned by the other campers, she decides to stop participating in camp activities. When asked why she won't participate, she quotes Herman Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener, "I prefer not to." It is her uncles who must come to her rescue while her parents are away.
Margaret expects to have an idyllic summer with her uncles. She looks forward to helping them with the three scrap metal towers they have spent the past 45 years building in their backyard. It is only by chance that she discovers what her parents and her uncles have been hiding from her: the towers are scheduled for demolition.
Gathering a disparate group of adults who have an interest in the towers, Margaret organizes a campaign to save the towers and learns about the history of the neighborhood her uncles have inhabited throughout the years. While the outcome is not exactly what readers might expect, Konigsburg explores the dynamics and consequences of civil disobedience, and what happens when a girl decides to start participating in life again.
A summer crush and a well-planned revenge are the book's major highlights. THE OUTCASTS OF 19 SCHUYLER PLACE may not have the same whimsy as THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER or the spirited competition of THE VIEW FROM SATURDAY, but it does share a theme common in all of Konigsburg's books: the self-reliance and resilience of young people facing the difficult task of becoming adults.
--- Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood
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on September 19, 2006
The towers in Uncle Alex and Uncle Morris' backyard are beautiful works of art that took forty years of hard effort to make. These towers have always been loved by the the city because they have so much majesty, color, and feeling. But soon a selfish bunch of homeowners want to take them down because they are afraid that the towers will lower their property values. The uncles' niece, Margaret Rose, still loves the towers and knows she has to do something to save them.

This is a story of determination and hope. Margaret Rose has to save her uncles' masterpieces, and even though she is only 12, she's up to the challange. Her attitude is sassy, and she is the type of person who always gets her way- no matter what. This was even evident in the beginning of the story, when she was able to escape the horrible Camp Talequa and get away from cruel cabin-mates and rude directors.

I love the characters in the story because they are so funny and unique. The uncles are quirky, and always argue with each other. Jake, another person who's trying to save the towers, is fun and clever. He helps try to save the towers in a very surprising way.

I think that this story drags a little bit in the middle because it talks too much about Margaret's detailed strategies to try to save the towers.It is a very funny book anyway- it's really light and not depressing. You'd like it if you like humorous, easy read stories. It wasn't my favorite story, but it's not bad. Try reading it for yourself!
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