Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Postcard

Title: The Postcard
Category: Mystery
Grades: 5-8
Author: Tony Abbott
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Date: 2008
Pages: 359

The last place Jason wants to be is in Florida, helping his dad clean out his eccentric old grandmother’s home after she died.  Especially since everyone in the town of St. Petersburg is crazy.  But then Jason discovers a story in a magazine and a strange postcard hidden deep in his grandmother’s desk.  There’s a mystery in his family, and with the lawn girl Dia’s help, Jason is determined to uncover it.  From postcard to postcard, from chapter to chapter of the story, slowly Jason begins to learn the true story of his grandmother’s life.  Unfortunately for Jason, the secret organization that chased the hapless magazine writer from page to page of his story is just as real, and now they’re chasing HIM too!

Tony Abbott has created a surprisingly good little story in many ways here.  Teens and tweens will certainly relate to Jason’s irritation at having his summer ruined, and many will sympathize as he watches his family fall slowly apart.  The clues Jason follows are believable but complex enough to keep readers’ attention and catch them up in the tale even as Jason himself is caught up in it.  Abbott adds plenty of historical details about the town, its landmarks and even the circus that lend authenticity to the story.  Some readers may find the mass of vaguely identified characters confusing, particularly in the final scenes, particularly as many seem to have several names.  Some supporting elements of the ending felt contrived and even cheesy in spots, but overall a great, fast-paced read, not entirely unlike Moon over Manifest, and fans of one will probably enjoy the other.


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