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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Book Review: Castle Blues Quake by Linda Covella

A fun read with some good lessons on friendships and death suitable for young teens.
The Castle Blues Quake
by Linda Covella
  • File Size: 2258 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Beau Coup Publishing LLC (July 20, 2014)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: July 20, 2014
12-year-old Pepper Connelly leaves her best friend, Chrissie, behind when her family moves from New York City to Santa Cruz, CA. Pepper discovers a boy, Corey, hiding in her backyard shed. Unknown to Pepper, Corey is a ghost trying to contact his grandfather, Boppie, before he crosses over. He tells Pepper he must locate Boppie before Social Services finds him. Pepper agrees to help.

While Pepper’s communication with Chrissie dwindles, her friendship with Corey grows. She tells Corey about her passion for writing songs, and throughout the story, she composes a song about Corey. Corey teaches Pepper to play the harmonica. Soon, she’s torn between finding Boppie and knowing when she does, Corey will certainly go back on the road with his traveling-musician grandfather.

Other characters help her on her quest: new classmate Ally Cressman, who dresses in an odd-ball, non-mall style; Sawtooth Sam, the mysterious saw-playing street musician; and Madame Mchumba, who performs her psychic readings at the Boardwalk amusement park. Earthquakes, haunted house rides, poltergeists, and crystal ball readings propel Pepper toward the end of her search as she learns about the give and take, the heartache and joy, of true friendship.

Pepper is a bright 12 year-old who is typically mourning leaving her best friend across country in New York when her family moves to Santa Cruz, CA. Not only did she they move her across country, they have moved into a dilapidated house that looks like something in a horror movie. Pepper braves the spiders and spooky noises and soon meets a boy named Corey. She realizes he is alone and needs help when she sees his bruises and the sunken eyes in his white face. She doesn’t realize he is a ghost and he decides not to tell her.

Corey is a young boy who lived in the house with friends while waiting for the return of his grandfather, Boppie, a blues musician who has sheltered the boy since the death of his parents. Boppie has taken Corey on tour with him but this time he’d been left behind. Corey is insistent on getting word to Boppie that he was killed in the quake that took down the Castle Blue music theatre. Corey wants to reassure Boppie that he is ‘okay’ before he moves to ‘the other side’ where he knows his parents are waiting.

At first Corey tried to scare the new family away but then he decided to seek help after sensing that the brave, young girl could see him. Corey and Pepper quickly become friends as she helps to hide him from social workers while also helping to hunt down Boppie. Corey at first thought she wouldn’t help if she knew he was a ghost. Soon he starts to feel bad because he knows it will hurt when he leaves her behind.

I enjoyed the simple friendship that developed between the primary characters. There are other fun characters including a new friend who shops at thrift stores and an old saw musician. The author uses the story to share feelings of loneliness, loss of old friends and finding new ones that are often experienced by young people when they move away from established schools and friends to new territory. I didn't care for the extent of lying to parents but there are other good lessons on acceptance, sharing friends, facing bullies, and thinking of others, not just one’s self.

The story is shared in alternating chapters from the views/voices of Corey and Pepper. I enjoyed the music aspect as Corey taught Pepper how to play the harmonica and she shared the song she was writing with him. Corey has a bit of an unschooled vocabulary and style of speech which fit a young teen who had shared life on the streets with Boppie. The writing style is very clear and crisp, with nice descriptions, making it an easy read. It would certainly be suitable for middle grades as well as young teens and it is nice, easy entertainment for adults too.

I received this from Mythbehaving for Blog Tour Feature. Please see prior post for Blog Tour Giveaway!.

1 comment:

  1. Martha, thanks you so much for reading The Castle Blues Quake and for your thoughtful review. Best wishes!


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