Friday, March 27, 2015

The Girl is Murder by Kathryn Miller Haines

From the publisher:

It's the Fall of 1942 and Iris's world is rapidly changing. Her Pop is back from the war with a missing leg, limiting his ability to do the physically grueling part of his detective work. Iris is dying to help, especially when she discovers that one of Pop's cases involves a boy at her school. Now, instead of sitting at home watching Deanna Durbin movies, Iris is sneaking out of the house, double crossing her friends, and dancing at the Savoy till all hours of the night. There's certainly never a dull moment in the private eye business.

Galesburg Public Library's Chapter Chompers Teen Book Club read The Girl is Murder as its March selection. The book also served as the YA companion book for the library's 2015 Big Read selection The Maltese Falcon. The six teens who attended our discussion loved this book!  It is definitely our most popular choice to date. The group loved how the book combines mystery, surprising plot twists and turns, and mini history lessons.

The book club teens all agreed that Kathryn Miller Haines does an excellent job of writing well-developed and interesting characters. We talked a lot about how we enjoyed the book even though Iris is not a particularly likable character ("she lies ALL THE TIME," according to one group member). We also spent time coming up with pop culture parallels for what we imagine some of the characters to look like: for example, group members envision Grace's mom looking like a blond Delores Umbridge from Harry Potter and Iris's Dad looking like Detective Gumshoe from the game "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney."

The group also spent some time thinking about the issue of discrimination as depicted in the book. We looked up some pictures of zoot suits, and tried to think of types of clothing that are used to judge or discriminate against people today.

The Chapter Chompers 5-point book rating system is as follows:
1 (lowest ranking) = 1 pizza
2 = 2 pizzas
3 = 3 pizzas
4 = breadsticks
5 = unitado

The Girl is Murder achieved an enthusiastic rating of Breadsticks. It is available now in libraries and bookstores.

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