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Absolutely Truly: A Pumpkin Falls Mystery    by Heather Vogel Frederick order for
Absolutely Truly
by Heather Vogel Frederick
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Jessica Maguire

Truly Lovejoy is not happy. At twelve years old she is already almost six feet tall. Not liking to stand out in the crowd, Truly has worked at blending in with the help of her adorably petite friend and cousin. But Truly will be moving with her family from Texas to tiny Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire, where her father will run the family bookstore and her mother will return to university.

To make matters even worse, Truly's father lost his arm in Afghanistan and has become a different man, sullen and aloof, his sense of humor gone. And with a bad math grade, Truly has been forbidden to join the swim team until her grades are up. Truly is truly unmoored, having lost her best friend, swimming, the father she once knew, and the town she loved living in.

But is it all really that bad? After a while Truly makes new friends and gets to know father's quirky sister, her aunt True. While working at the family's bookstore Truly finds a note in a first edition copy of Charlotte's Web. A mystery to solve! 'Who is the note for and what is its meaning?' wonders Truly.

Needing help, Truly lets her friends in on the mystery. As one puzzle leads to another, Truly cements the bonds with her new friends and meets the people of her community. Truly finds that maybe Pumpkin Falls isn't so bad after all. But what of the mysterious note? Readers aged eight to twelve will just have to turn the pages to find out!

I enjoyed this fun yet poignant novel. I like how the author handles, with dignity and humor, the topic of a parent losing a limb in Afghanistan and the resulting post traumatic stress that affects the entire family. Sadly, it is a relevant topic that many young people are familiar with.

On a lighter note, I also noticed that the characters have names such as Lovejoy and Burnside, which are street names in Portland, Oregon. I wondered if there was a connection, and, sure enough, this is where the author resides.

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