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Contributor(s): Turnage, Sheila

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ISBN: 0803736703     ISBN-13: 9780803736702
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
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Binding Type: Hardcover - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: May 2012
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Annotation: Making a home in a small North Carolina town where she washed up as a baby during a hurricane 11 years earlier, sixth-grader Mo taps the power of her strong will and tough attitude when a lawman arrives in town to investigate a murder case that threatens to destabilize Mo's adopted family. A first novel.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Mystery and detective stories.
Restaurants; Fiction.
Community life; North Carolina; Fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Mysteries & Detective Stories
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2011035027
Lexile Measure: 560
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 5.25" H x 7.25" W x 1.00" (0.96 lbs) 312 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 151057
Reading Level: 3.9   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 9.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q57436
Reading Level: 3.2   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 16.0
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): IV>Sheila Turnage lives in Maury, North Carolina.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall)
The center of rural Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, is a cafi owned by the Colonel, who rescued and adopted Mo when she washed up during a hurricane as a baby. Completing their unconventional family is Miss Lana, the cafi's hostess. All is well--until a stranger comes to town. Humor sweetens the mix in this dandy, leisurely plotted mystery.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #4)
All too often, books set in the rural South feature quirky characters who grow like kudzu and completely strangle the plot. Here, Turnage comes close to letting that happen but never steps over the literary vine; her strong story emerges through, rather than around, the individuals who reside in Tupelo Landing, North Carolina. The town's center is a café owned by the Colonel, an amnesiac who rescued and informally adopted Moses (a.k.a. Mo) LoBeau, who washed up during a hurricane when she was just a baby. The Colonel knows three things: he loves Mo, hates lawyers, and can run a café. Completing their unconventional family is Miss Lana, the café's hostess, who effortlessly changes the menu and theme (from Parisian to Hollywood) at will. And then a stranger comes to town. Mo knows what that means: "Trouble had come to Tupelo Landing for good." Turnage takes her time with the plot, dropping hints, such as a death and a strange inheritance, that indicate something big is about to happen. The end result is a dandy mystery that reaches back into the Colonel and Miss Lana's past and involves the entire community, including Mo's best friend, Dale; his dreamy brother, Lavender; and the Azalea Women (a.k.a. the Uptown Garden Club). Humor sweetens the mix, making Tupelo Landing a pleasant place to stay for a spell. betty carter

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2012 April #2)

Eleven years ago, Mo LoBeau arrived in Tupelo Landing, N.C., a newborn baby girl washed downstream during a hurricane and rescued by "the Colonel," a stranger who can't remember anything about his own past. Both are taken in by Miss Lana, owner of the Tupelo Cafe. Mo (short for Moses) loves the Colonel and Lana, but she can't curb her curiosity: isn't anybody missing a lucky newborn? Mo scratches this itch by sending messages in bottles to her "Upstream Mother." Into this implausible but hilarious premise arrives an out-of-town detective, a dead body (cafe customer Mr. Jesse), a long-forgotten bank robbery, and a kidnapping. This much plot might sink a story, but Turnage makes it work. Here is a writer who has never met a metaphor or simile she couldn't put to good use. Miss Lana's voice is "the color of sunlight in maple syrup," while "umors swirl around the Colonel like ink around an octopus." But it's Mo's wry humor that makes this first novel completely memorable. "Boredom kills," she suggests as Mr. Jesse's cause of death. "I've had close brushes myself, during math." Ages 10–up. Agent: Melissa Jeglinski, the Knight Agency. (May)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2012 June)

Gr 4–7—Quick-thinking and precocious Mo LoBeau is hilarious in this modern-day mystery set in a small North Carolina town. The 11-year-old discovers the true meaning of family as she searches for her "upstream mother." As a baby, Mo was found washed ashore during a hurricane and has led a quiet life with the Colonel, a café owner with a hidden past, and Miss Lana, the fun and colorful café hostess. Then one day, this idyllic town is turned upside down by a murder investigation. The twists and turns in the plot will keep readers on their toes, and the humorous interactions between Mo and her quirky neighbors will keep them coming back for more. While the story is amusing and mysterious, the author also skillfully touches on tough issues such as alcoholism, spousal and child abuse, and underage drinking. The mood of the book stays light and keeps youngsters rooting for Mo in all of her adventurous endeavors, yet elicits empathy for the secondary characters as they endure and conquer challenging circumstances. While the overall theme is predictable, the solution to the mystery is not, and this book will leave readers hoping for more books about Mo and her gang.—Amy Shepherd, St. Anne's Episcopal School, Middleton, DE

[Page 138]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
 
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