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The American Highway by William Kaszynski
Blizzard by John Rocco
The Bones of Paris by Laurie R. King
Displacement: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley
Don Eddy: The Art of Paradox by Donald B. Kuspit
The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee
Finding Someplace by Denise Lewis Patrick
Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle
The Flying Squad by Edgar Wallace
George by Alex Gino
Ghoul Interrupted by Victoria Laurie
Hip Hop Family Tree, Vol. 1: 1970s-1981 by Ed Piskor
In the Driver's Seat by Cynthia Golomb Dettelbach
Last Message by Shane Peacock
The Lincoln Highway by Michael Wallis
Magic Thinks Big by Elisha Cooper
A Murderous Yarn by Monica Ferris
My Name Is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada
Return to Augie Hobble by Lane Smith
Sophie Scott Goes South by Alison Lester
The Spider by Elise Gravel
A Spirited Gift by Joyce Lavene
A Stitch in Time by Monica Ferris
Tommy Can't Stop! by Tim Federle
Unraveled Sleeve by Monica Ferris
Up, Tall and High by Ethan Long
The Vacation by Polly Horvath
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Woundabout by Lev A.C. Rosen

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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



Return to Augie Hobble: 11/19/15

Return to Augie Hobble by Lane SmithReturn to Augie Hobble by Lane Smith is the illustrator's debut into writing tween fiction. It's set along an abandoned piece of US 66 in New Mexico at a struggling family run amusement park, done as a low budget Disneyland.

In terms of location, it's probably most like Cliff's, an an amusement park in Albuquerque. In terms of how it's described, though, it's more like the defunct Santa's Village in Alpine, California with nods to Disneyland before the building of the California Adventure.

Anyway, Augie lives there with his father and mother and he's eagerly awaiting his best friend's return from the yearly family trip. Except his friend doesn't return. Augie learns that he died of an acute reaction to peanuts he accidentally ate on the trip. Augie is convinced that he has killed his friend, having slipped his friend a cookie before the trip.

In road trip stories there are those who take to the open road, leaving the big city for the small towns, or to make a cross country trek from one metropolis to another by way of numerous small destinations along the way. Augie's amusement park was once a destination when US 66 was the mother road and had its own theme song. Then in 1957 it was bypassed by I40 and decommissioned in 1985.

The death of Augie's friend is tied up in the metaphor of the sudden ways things can change and the stubborn way reminders of the past hold on as the rest crumbles around them. Augie who lives in a place on the border between the modern and the forgotten, is open to seeing the worlds between. In this regard he's like Hiyori from Noragami or Richard Mayhew from Neverwhere.

A collection of Augie's Polaroids.

I think the book will appeal to readers who are fans of Gravity Falls. The amusement park is similar to Grunkle Stan's Mystery Shack. Likewise, there are some supernatural goings on in and around the park that Augie feels compelled to investigate. Augie's method of recording these events, though, is an old Polaroid camera that "takes cool pictures that look like Instagram." (p. 23)

As Lane Smith is an illustrator, he includes numerous examples of Augie's Polaroid photographs which add to the road trip charm of this otherworldly book.

Five stars

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