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Great for kids who like continuing stories, but falls short of the original
on December 3, 2014
After reading the original Anastasia book (which I read for its place on the banned books list, the same reason I continued with the second book), I had fairly high expectations for this sequel, and while the book wasn't entirely unenjoyable, it certainly fell short of the original.
Now a few years older, Anastasia, her parents, and her little brother, Sam, are a bit cramped in their apartment. Despite some misgivings on Anastasia's part (relating to her idea of what suburbs people act like), they buy a house and relocate. Which, of course, means taking Anastasia away from her few friends.
This book is kept from typical early chapter book moving angst by the addition of a crotchety neighbor, Gertrude Stein, who has been a virtual shut-in since her failed romance with her childhood neighbor and since her husband ran off many years before. Anastasia make Gertrude her project, forcing her out of her comfort zone and back into society, while at the same time the simple passage of time does the same to Anastasia, who begins to meet neighbors her age.
If your child finished the first Anastasia book and is still interested in her life, then the entire Anastasia series will be a great boon. However, while I had made plans to read the entire series myself, I think I've seen enough to pass on the rest. They aren't bad. They're just really meant for smaller kids.
Lois Lowry writes plenty of other books with an appeal for all ages ("The Giver" being the obvious example), but this book is probably best left to the kids for which it was written.