Wednesday, May 21, 2008


There is something strange, almost sinister, surrounding recent happenings at Ludlow house in Banesville. A few citizens reporting ghostly sightings is not of great concern. But combined with town newcomer Madame Zobek's ominous gloom and doom predictions, a sudden influx of advertising cash at the local newspaper, a decrease in The Bee's factual reporting, the purported influx of spirit activity is as unsettling as the ugly rumors of eminent domain circulating amongst local apple farmers.

In Peeled, by Newbery Honor author Joan Bauer, Hildy Biddle is a reporter for the school newspaper The Core who is looking for the truth. While the old adage truth will out seem appropriate, Hildy's questions make a great number of people nervous. When The Core staff gets a new faculty advisor they begin to investigate; only to be silenced by school administration and forced to suspend publication of their newspaper. Determined, Hildy and her friends start and underground newspaper and move forward to uncover a conspiracy that threatens the very life blood of Banesville, apple farms.

Hildy is a classic Joan Bauer heroine, full of life and purpose and surrounded by a cast of engaging characters. No one here is perfect, that's what makes the story ring true; subtle shades of gray surrounding good and bad. Fans of Bauer's previous novels, me included, have another treat in store for them, and Peeled should bring a few more fans to the table.

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