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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



The Vacation: 11/16/15

The Vacation by Polly HorvathPolly Horvath is originally from Kalamazoo Michigan but now lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Her books reflect her move and her adoption of a new country and home.

The Vacation by Polly Horvath begins in Critz, Virginia and ends somewhere in the United States, on some highway, mid road trip. It begins with Henry being left in the care of his aunts, Pigg and Magnolia, after his parents go to somewhere in Africa as part of a Mormon mission (even though neither of them are Mormons).

That's a rough start to a book and one that Horvath probably wouldn't have chosen were she to write the book now. Horvath's books, especially her most recent ones, are precise and detailed, even — no especially — especially when there are talking rabbits or other wacky characters. To just hand wave and say Africa is an unfortunate bit of sloppiness in order to get the parents out of the story without killing them.

Nor is The Vacation a straight up road trip either. Henry and his aunts don't hop into the family car the instant the parents leave. Instead, there's a grueling couple of weeks where Mag is desperately ill. The road trip springs from Mag's desire to convalesce and reclaim life. First stop is Virginia Beach.

If Virginia Beach was to be the civilized vacation, the type where one goes to a resort to take in the sun, maybe read a book, and people watch, then the trip that comes after is the exact opposite.

It's really only after Virginia Beach that The Vacation takes on the tone that I so love of the later Horvath novels. The road has an affect on travelers, transforming them with each mile. The motels with their wacky variations on a theme affect further changes. And it is in this transformation that Pigg and Mag come out of their shells and truly shine as characters.

There are too many different types of adventures to outline here without divulging plot and spoilers. I'm including a rough map, if you're curious.

Screen shot of a rough itinerary created on Google Maps in June, 2015

If you'd like to follow along more closely with Mag, Pigg, and Henry, I logged my favorite quotes and thoughts on Tumblr.

Four stars

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