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The Graham Cracker Plot Paperback – September 1, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Twelve-year-old Daisy Bauer is in trouble—big trouble, but just how she and her friend Graham got in such a mess unfolds through Daisy's telling of the events interspersed with her letters to Judge Henry. The trouble begins when Daisy's mom leaves her with a neighbor, Graham's mother Keri, so she and her boyfriend can go on vacation. Keri, however, is wrapped up in her own problems, so Daisy and Graham are left on their own in a rundown trailer park. Yearning to leave that life behind, the kids decide to break Daisy's dad out of prison and escape to a new life in Canada. They need a little help, so they enlist a friend, Ashley, who can drive. Unfortunately, since Ashley's accident, she isn't quite right. Their plan goes awry almost from the beginning and they frantically regroup at every turn. In the end, Daisy learns the truth about her dad, and she and Graham have to make amends for all the trouble they caused. This book tries to take some serious situations—including a dad in prison, neglectful moms, and poverty—and make them funny as the kids try to solve their own problems and start anew. While there are some humorous moments as this rag-tag bunch tries to pull off a prison break, they are overshadowed by the not-so-humorous aspects of their lives, which will seem quite real to some readers.—Laura Fields Eason, Henry F. Moss Middle School, Bowling Green, KY --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Quite touching.” ―BCCB
“Twelve-year-old Daisy Bauer is in trouble - big trouble, but just how she and her friend Graham got in such a mess unfolds through Daisy's telling of the events interspersed with her letters to Judge Henry.” ―School Library Journal
“Readers will find themselves rooting for Daisy and Graham.” ―Kirkus Reviews
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The Graham Cracker Plot is a funny, edgy adventure by Shelley Tougas, but it's not necessarily your best choice for the recommended 8-12 range. This is the author's first work of fiction and I wonder if she doesn't have the measure of a preteen audience. Or perhaps the publisher simply picked the wrong segment. I might have made the protagonist fourteen (she's eleven here) and market this to YA (12+) readers.
In many ways, this book reminded me of Turn Left at the Cow. Both were debut fiction books that seem Fargo-inspired, and both authors are from the upper Midwest. In fact, my concluding line of that review is applicable here:
Overall, a well-written genre debut offering strong environment and edgy, believable dialogue.
[The reviewer was provided with a complimentary copy of the book.]
Overall, I really enjoyed the writing, characters, and plot of The Graham Cracker Plot. My problem came from the fact that this book was somewhat depressing as the story behind Daisy's father's jailing came to light. It really just broke my heart reading about that and how what she learned changed the way she viewed her father. What really made it sad was that it was an element to the book that caught me off guard. I really wasn't expecting to be hit with something that heavy while I was reading this one, I was more prepared for a light caper. Even so, this unexpected element was so well done that I cannot truly find fault with it.
Unexpected heaviness aside, what I really enjoyed about The Graham Cracker Plot would have to be the characterization. I just could not hep but enjoy watching Daisy's story unfold. Sure, it made me sad and mad at times, but the way she came to understand the truth of why her father was not there was so good. As difficult as everything was that Daisy faced, I found everything to be well written-from her plans to free the Chemist to the evolution of her feelings after she learns the truth.
So, while I enjoyed the overall plot-line and the characterization, it was Shelley Tougas' writing that really made it all come together. I thought she did one amazing job of bringing every thing together into one whole. While there were definitely some heart-wrenching moments throughout the book, it was the lightness of the plotting balanced with the seriousness that really made this a interesting book.
I guess you could say that I enjoyed the two polarizing sides of this book. On the lighter side, I liked reading about Daisy and Graham as they put into action the plans they made to break the Chemist out and escape to Canada. It was quite funny to see how much effort they put into it, as well as how close they got, even though they left quite a few things unplanned. On the more serious side, my heart just broke as the truth started to come to the surface; and, when Daisy learned the truth my heart was crushed for her.
Final Verdict: The Graham Cracker Plot- One outrageous caper, two kids, laughter and heartbreak...yeah, this one pulled me and kept me coming back for more.
Review taken from my blog The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Daisy is concerned that her father might not do well in prison, even if it's only a minimum security one nicknamed Club Fed, so she and her frenemy, Graham, decide to break him out. Of course, sounds like a great idea to me! As you ride along with them, (yes, they manage to get a getaway car and driver!), you'll meet interesting characters, see Daisy and Graham get themselves into all sorts of trouble, and watch as Daisy learns the truth about her dad and what taking responsibility for your actions really means.
I could tell from the first pages that this would be a fun read, I just didn't expect it to be so touching. I highly recommend that you meet Daisy and Graham (Cracker) soon.