When Mark borrows a copy of Great Expectations from the school library, he finds, concealed between two pages, an envelope containing three crisp one-hundred dollar bills.There is also a note mysterious but intriguing, that invites the finder to embark on a quests. If Mark can puzzle out the meaning of a series of enigmatic verse clues meant to lead him on a treasure hunt around his hometown of Pittsburgh, then, like Charles Dicken's Pip, he is promised a fortune. But he must follow certain rules - like working in absolute secrecy -- or the deal is off. Rewarded by gifts of money, Mark uses the clues to move from one strange Pittsburgh location to the next - an abandoned steel mill, an old astronomical observatory -- when suddenly the rules of the quest change...
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With the chance opening of a dusty copy of Great Expectations, a young man is plunged into a mysterious scavenger hunt that leads him all over his native city of Pittsburgh and straight into an unexpected romance. The quest begins when Mark finds $300 and a set of directions in a library book. After accepting the stated conditions and tracking down the first few clues, he is instructed by his unknown benefactor to select a companion for the quest. "This person is to be a different sex from your own... but may not be a friend of yours at present." Mark settles on Zeena Curry, a striking, smart girl. Zeena cautiously accepts Mark's offer, even though her black mother's painful divorce from her white father has made her distrustful of people outside her race. Together, they experience several narrow escapes--including one that lands Mark in the emergency room nursing a concussion--before coming to the conclusion that they just might be in love. Impatiently, they strive toward their shared goal, hoping for a big payoff, not realizing until the end that the journey itself may have been their greatest reward.
Rife with interesting tidbits of historical Pittsburgh lore, the cryptically worded quest will keep teens eagerly moving through the 200-plus pages of this novel. It is the author's exploration of Mark and Zeena's relationship, however, that provides the heart of Another Kind of Monday. By framing this unlikely couple within a enigmatic journey, William E. Coles Jr. has created a young adult novel that is neither mystery nor romance but the best parts of both. (Ages 13 and older) --Jennifer Hubert
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