Fourteen-year-old Cameo Rose's insatiable curiosity about the murder of a local ne'er-do-well gets her in trouble with her taciturn neighbors in the Arkansas hills.
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Grade 6-8-- A slight novel, both in length and in plot. Cameo Rose is being raised by her grandfather in rural Arkansas. When a neighbor is murdered, Grandpa, a farmer who also serves as the local sheriff, has to investigate. Against his wishes, Cameo does some investigating of her own. Since the dead man was a much disliked ne'er-do-well who abused his wife and was unfaithful to her as well, many suspects surface. When someone wounds Grandpa in a shooting and narrowly misses Cameo in a similar incident, she begins to question everyone about the murder. Suspicion falls on the dead man's widow, but eventually the mother of Cameo's new-found boyfriend confesses her guilt to Cameo. She was driven to violence by Homer's lewd, unwanted advances. Cameo promises never to reveal her secret. Cameo Rose emerges as a feisty, likable character who is both naive and wise. The plot, while simple, might hold young readers' interest, but the dialect, in which all of the conversations are written, may not. Putting such words as iffen, wal, fer, and jist in print does not convey authenticity of speech. Rather, it produces a jarring effect, especially when conversations are juxtaposed with Cameo's thoughts, which are not in dialect. And while the story may reflect the harsh realities of life in rural Arkansas, the ending is troubling. Adults might question the wisdom of telling young readers that this killing was justified because the victim was such a worthless human being. Certainly the woman who kills him is a victim too, but her only punishment is that she will have to live with the memory of her crime. --Bruce Ann Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, N.C.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The author of the Johnny May books and the acclaimed The Girl returns with another memorable character, Cameo Rose, a girl who wears britches because they are easier to work in, but wouldn't mind putting on a dress now and then. With a natural curiosity that often boils down to just plain nosiness, Cameo Rose lives with her grandfather because her parents are both dead. And when one of the town's laziest, most despicable residents is shot, she is determined to find the murderer. Cameo Rose is an intriguing teenager; she faces the facts of violence calmly, even when she becomes the target, and never veers from her course of serenely finding the killer. But when she finally confronts the murderer, a woman whom Cameo Rose loves and counts as a role model, the girl's reactions may be perceived as either devastatingly naive or calculatingly immoral. Readers will have to make up their own minds; this brief novel raises ethical questions without easy answers: rape may be justification for murder, and long-term abuse may warrant premeditated revenge. Ages 11-14.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97800602055841.0
Book Description Harpercollins Childrens Books, 1989. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX006020558X