Putnam Juvenile (2008)
Reviewed by Avery Largent (9) for Reader Views (5/08)
“Peeled” by Joan Bauer is an enjoyable tale of a high-school girl who is trying to solve a ghostly mystery in her hometown. The main character, Hildy Biddle, is a newspaper writer in her school assigned to write about the mystery of the Ludlow house. While investigating the strange happenings, Hildy still leads a normal life quite like any average teenager. She goes to school, she spends time with her friends and family, and she even develops a crush on the new boy at school.
Because Hildy is so like your average teen, you can really relate to her character. It is almost as if she is your best friend, or even yourself, within the pages. Although the life Hildy leads is just the same as any average teenager’s on the outside, she really becomes a great heroine. Not just because she was smart enough to figure out the clues to the mystery, she seems to have an inner courage, tenacity, and a kind heart. Hildy is intelligent, kind, and a good character.
Author Joan Bauer describes her characters in very little physical detail which makes them hard to “see” at first. Hildy’s looks aren’t described until around thirty to forty pages in. Although it was a challenge at first, I grew accustomed to the author’s style and actually really liked it. I enjoyed making my own details about the characters in my imagination. It’s almost like reading a newspaper article, because the facts are more important that the details.
Joan Bauer used this journalistic style throughout the book. She carefully crafted the characters and the plot, never getting bogged down in detail and only slowly divulging information. It is almost as if the author was holding a slanted quill, slowly dropping ink. A few droplets tell you a few things. Then a couple more, building it up, answering questions and creating more. It never, ever, comes in a thick, constant stream of information. This is a perfect way to write a mystery. It allows time for the reader to figure out some of the clues, but there are so many twists and turns in the plot that the reader never feels bored.
Overall, “Peeled” by Joan Bauer, was a very good book. I would recommend this book to my friends, telling them how good it was with a grin. Readers who like Nancy Drew will love “Peeled.” This book is a definite page turner that keeps you excited and on your toes all the way through.