Sunday, January 12, 2014

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Moses (Mo) LoBeau has been looking for her Upstream Mother ever since infant Mo washed up in Tupelo Landing, North Carolina during a hurricane.  Not that she's unhappy with her life with the Colonel and Miss Lana and helping to run the cafe, far from it.  The summer's looking great, but then one of the regulars turns up murdered.  Of course Mo and her best friend Dale are convinced they will solve the case before the questionable city-slicker detective.

Three Times Lucky had been on my "to read" list since it came out.  Everyone was saying how fabulous it was, and it did get a Newbery honor.  It was just as great as everyone said.

What wonderful character voices!  For everyone!  Each character, no matter how important they were to the main plot, had a rich, distinct voice.  From Mo herself to Grandmother Miss Lacy Thornton.  The fact that this small town was a close-knit community was important to the story, and it was clear right away that this was the case from the way the different characters spoke to each other.  Everyone knew everyone else.  Everyone knew everyone else's business, troubles, secrets, problems.  They annoyed each other and were there for each other.  It was like a gigantic family.

Mo was excellent.  She's smart and self-sufficient.  While she's interested in seeking out her Upstream Mother and takes action to do so, it's not something she dwells on.  She's far too busy to dwell on things.  She's got an interesting home life with Miss Lana and the Colonel.  It takes a little while to figure out what the relationship is between Miss Lana and the Colonel.  Are they married?  Partners?  Friends?  When one is in Tupelo Landing, the other is often somewhere else.  But one of them is always around to watch out for Mo and to run the cafe.  Mo is a planner and a do-er, usually accompanied by her best friend Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, an incredibly sweet kid who's always concerned about his mother.  He has good cause to be since his father is an abusive alcoholic.

A grouchy member of the community is murdered, and suddenly the town has to deal with the death of one of their own along with stranger coming into their town and telling them what to do.  Mo is determined to figure out what's going on, but it quickly terns personal with the disappearance of first the Colonel and then Miss Lana.  Secrets are revealed, secrets that not even the close-knit town community were aware of.

It's really about family.  What makes a family?  It's not necessarily blood.  Your family might not be "traditional."  It might not have a mother and a father.  Maybe there's just one.  Or maybe not either.  But it doesn't matter.  Family is more than blood, as Tupelo Landing proves.

Great read for ANYONE!  Seriously, I feel like I could recommend this to pretty much anyone.  Boys, girls, mystery fans, realistic fiction fans.  Fans of books with serious issues, fans for books that are funny.  Maybe not fantasy fans, but pretty much anyone else!

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