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Mister Death's Blue-eyed Girls
ISBN: 9780544022249
Author: Hahn, Mary Downing
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Published: April 2013
Retail: $8.99    OUR PRICE: $1.99
     You Save 78%
Binding Type: Paperback
Qty:
Annotation: A tale inspired by a double murder that took place in the author's 1950s Maryland hometown follows the experiences of high school junior Nora, who questions everything she ever believed in the aftermath of the killings of two teenage peers, whose deaths are blamed on a victim's bitter ex-boyfriend. By the award-winning author of The Old Willis Place. 75,000 first printing.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Coming of age; Fiction.
Murder; Fiction.
Grief; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: bl2013012833
Lexile Measure: 700
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 10-12, Age 15-18
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
BISAC category:
Target Grade: 10-12
Grade level: 10-12
Physical Information: 8.25" H x 5.50" L x 0.75" W
Lexile Level: 700
Bargain Category: Mystery, Middle School, High School, Fantasy, Chapter Books
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 151900
Reading Level: 4.3   Interest Level: Upper Grades   Point Value: 11.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q58425
Reading Level: 5.3   Interest Level: Grades 9-12   Point Value: 19.0
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall)
When an unknown gunman kills her friends Cheryl and Bobbi Jo, Nora works through her grief and comes to believe that the assumed murderer, Cheryl's bad-boy ex-boyfriend, is innocent. The present-tense narration provides immediacy in this top-notch coming-of-age mystery. By grounding the circumstances so specifically and convincingly in the 1950s, Hahn emphasizes the universality of growing up and facing death.
Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #4)
A quintessential writer of supernatural stories, Hahn here gives readers a glimpse at real ghosts from her past, a 1955 murder of two teenage girls near her home. She takes that situation, retains the original setting, provides immediacy through a present-tense narration, and produces a top-notch coming-of-age mystery. Nora, just finishing her junior year of high school, has three friends (Ellie, Cheryl, and Bobbi Jo) and two dreams (to be popular and have some boy love her and thus give her value). When an unknown gunman kills Cheryl and Bobbi Jo on the last morning of school, the townspeople assume that bad-boy Buddy, Cheryl's ex-boyfriend, is guilty. As Nora works through her grief, she remembers seeing Buddy immediately after the murder and comes to believe he's innocent. Setting creates the story here as much as plot or characters do. Like girls of today, those of the 1950s gossiped, read magazines (but True Confessions rather than People), and listened to music (Little Richard instead of Justin Bieber). But, in a gutsy authorial move, Hahn shows greater differences. For example, there are Nora's limited options past high school; the casual smoking; and language, from harelip to moron jokes, that was standard for that time rather than this one. By grounding the circumstances so specifically and convincingly, Hahn emphasizes the universality of growing up and facing death. betty carter
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2012 June #2)

In a gripping story all the more chilling for its roots in a real-life crime that touched Hahn's (The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall) life, two Maryland teenage girls are murdered on their way to school in 1956. The author skillfully threads together the voices of several individuals affected by the tragedy. The predominant voice is that of 16-year-old Nora, a friend of the victims who realizes that "Nothing is what it used to be. It will never be the same again." Frightened and confused, Nora questions her Catholic faith ("Why does God let horrible things happen to people?), grapples with her insecurities ("Not stylish. Not pretty") and her fears ("Hell. Death. Especially death. But also sex"). She cautiously befriends Buddy, the boy who everyone else believes killed the girls. Buddy and the actual murderer contribute to the narrative, which also includes excerpts from the murdered girls' diaries and references to period films, music, and fashion. This wrenching novel offers an aggregate portrait of the effects of loss and grief, including both the strengthening and dissolution of relationships. Ages 12–up. (Apr.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
Reviewed by PW Annex Reviews (Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews)

In a gripping story all the more chilling for its roots in a real-life crime that touched Hahn's (The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall) life, two Maryland teenage girls are murdered on their way to school in 1956. The author skillfully threads together the voices of several individuals affected by the tragedy. The predominant voice is that of 16-year-old Nora, a friend of the victims who realizes that "Nothing is what it used to be. It will never be the same again." Frightened and confused, Nora questions her Catholic faith ("Why does God let horrible things happen to people?), grapples with her insecurities ("Not stylish. Not pretty") and her fears ("Hell. Death. Especially death. But also sex"). She cautiously befriends Buddy, the boy who everyone else believes killed the girls. Buddy and the actual murderer contribute to the narrative, which also includes excerpts from the murdered girls' diaries and references to period films, music, and fashion. This wrenching novel offers an aggregate portrait of the effects of loss and grief, including both the strengthening and dissolution of relationships. Ages 12–up. (Apr.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2012 July)

Gr 8 Up—The night before what promises to be a long, hot, and probably boring summer, Nora and her best friend, Ellie, go to an end-of-the-school-year party. The girls, along with their friends Cheryl and Bobby Jo, stride into the park in their short shorts and Keds for an evening of listening to Elvis Presley, drinking first beers, and exchanging sloppy kisses in the dark. In the morning Nora and Ellie, nursing first-time hangovers, decline to walk with Cheryl and Bobby Jo, but finish their breakfasts instead. But as the day goes on the girls wonder where their friends are-they never showed up at school. Finally, their whereabouts are revealed when a group of classmates bolt out of the woods near the park yelling, "They're dead!" This haunting novel alternates narrators to give voices to naïve 17-year-old Nora; the mysterious perpetrator of this hideous crime who dubs himself "Mister Death" (in homage to e.e. cummings); Cheryl's ex, Buddy Novak, whom everybody suspects; and even the dead girls themselves (via journal entries). This creepy tale slowly and craftily builds tension. Definitely a scary novel, it has the added feature of offering a unique snapshot of life in the 1950s.—Tara Kehoe, Plainsboro Public Library, NJ

[Page 80]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.