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Month in review

Reviews
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
A Bit Lost (Little Owl Lost) by Chris Haughton
Black Juice by Margo Lanagan
Bride of the Rat God by Barbara Hambly
Cat Tale by Michael Hall
Crow Boy by Taro Yashima
Flu by Wayne Simmons
Freddy Goes to Florida by Walter R. Brooks
Fullmetal Alchemist 20 by Hiromu Arakawa
Getting Rid of Matthew by Jane Fallon
Go, Dog. Go! by P. D. Eastman
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Hot Rod Hamster! by Cynthia Lord
The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson
Hubert Horatio Bartle Bobton-Trent by Lauren Child
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Going to Sleep? by Bill Martin Jr.
The Last Train by Gordon M. Titcomb
Little Owl's Night by Divya Srinivasan
The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
The Maze of Bones (audio) by Rick Riordan
Mostly Monsterly by Tammi Sauer
Pirate vs. Pirate by Mary Quattlebaum
Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore
Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit by Il Sung Na
The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan
Teeth, Tails & Tentacles by Christopher Wormell
The Three Weissmanns of Westport (audio) by Cathleen Schine
Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
Vanished by Sheela Chari

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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8




Vanished: 01/13/13

cover art

Vanished by Sheela R Chari is a wonderful debut novel aimed at tweens. It's part mystery and part coming of age tale. Eleven year old Neela is learning to play the veena — a four foot tall stringed instrument from India. When her instrument goes missing she is determined to get it back, even if it means going head-to-head against a curse!

Neela's missing instrument is her grandmother's, a veena decorated with the carved head of a wyvern. After its disappearance, she finds herself surrounded by reminders of the missing veena. What Neela must do is decide if these reminders are clues or just further evidence of the curse.

Vanished is set in Boston. Neela and her family are a believable blend of American and Indian cultures. As the focus is on the stolen veena, the novel doesn't fall into the usual trap of creating tension through Neela's westernization and her family's traditional ways. Instead, she is part of a vibrant, believable family that is finding the balance between old and new traditions.

For a tween mystery, Vanished is delightfully complex. The clues are all there for attentive readers. I have to admit I was to taken in with the curse angle to pay attention, so as things unfolded, I was surprised.

While knowledge and appreciation for Indian culture (especially music) certainly enhances the reading experience, it's not necessary. The author does an excellent job of weaving descriptions of key details into the novel.

Finally, there is the lovely cover art designed by Jon Klassen, of I Want My Hat Back. By itself, the cover is inviting. It covers the basics of the plot in a quick glance — a girl and her veena. But as readers reach the end, they will discover the true significance of the cover art. It gets to the heart and soul of the piece.

Five stars

Comments (2)


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Comment #1: Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 22:50:38

Freda Mans

Sounds like a magical story. I love stories with influences of other cultures too so I think this would be an ideal read for me.



Comment #2: Monday, January 28, 2013 at 17:53:25

Pussreboots

I hope you give it a read. It was really good from start to finish.