Sunday, May 18, 2008

Peeled, by Joan Bauer

Hildy has a talent for investigative journalism (much like her deceased father). When strange events start to happen in her sleepy Upstate New York apple-growing town, she knows something is rotten to the core. The arrival of ghosts, psychics, and real-estate developers adds no comfort. But what can you do about it when you are just working on a school newspaper?

Most of Bauer's stories are the same (hard-working teen outsmarts corrupt elders and usually gets a boyfriend in the process). All that changes from novel to novel is the overallarea of interest (waiting on tables, growing squashes, selling shoes, etc.). This recent novel is particularly reminescent of Hope Was Here. Why mess with success? And, admittedly, Peeled is a satisfying story. So, file this in the Guilty Pleasures category. If you like her other stories, you'll like this one. But if you've never read anything by her before, start with Hope Was Here or Squashed instead.

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