Summers End

Well, it’s down to the last few hours of summer vacation. I have a little twinge of is-it-really-over-already, but I’m mostly happy about it. We met my daughter’s new teacher on Wednesday and toured the classroom. She’s finished all of the Rainbow Fairies books and is now starting on Disney’s Pixie Hollow books.
Last Saturday, I read the tween ghost story, Wait Till Helen Comes, by Mary Downing Hahn. It is the story of a blended family who moves from the city to a former church, complete with cemetery, far out in the country. The isolation stresses relationship fault lines and the family structure begins to crack as over-indulged Heather, younger stepsister to main character Molly and her brother Michael, makes friends with ghostly Helen. It is brilliantly suspenseful and creepy, with a touching resolution. My only issue was that Heather’s “deep dark secret” was not really a secret, and both adults in the story should have at least guessed at the root of Heather’s bad behavior, if not been actively aware of it. That said, what is obvious to me as an adult may not be so to the target audience for this book. I definitely recommend it.
On the other hand, I have been struggling all week to read Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart. I’m somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 of the way through it, but I find it very slow going. It’s got a great premise – a man (Mortimer “Mo” Folchart) has such a talent for reading aloud that people, animals or things actually materialize off the page into the real world. The down side is that for each something that comes out of the book, something else has to go in, and his wife becomes trapped in the book-within-the-book, “Inkheart.” The uber-villain (Capricorn) from this story that Mo read nine years ago has finally caught up with him and his now-twelve year old daughter (Meggie). Even the author of the fictional book gets involved in the story. Have you ever dated someone who seemed to be a perfect match? They seemed really nice, were good looking, had a good job – there was every reason to adore them – but there was just no chemistry. This book is like that for me. I really want to like it, even love it, but it just isn’t clicking with me.