Alive and Well in Prague, New York (Laura Geringer Books)

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9780061256707: Alive and Well in Prague, New York (Laura Geringer Books)

Matisse Osgood is a New York City girl through and through. She buys her clothes at Andy's Cheapies, watches indie films at the Angelika, and wouldn't be caught dead on a hayride. But when her father gets sick and Matisse's parents decide to leave Man-hattan for a small town in upstate New York, her perfect world crumbles. As Matisse trudges through life in Prague, she dreams of waking up in her apartment on West 78th Street with a father who's well enough to walk with her in Central Park and a mother who doesn't pretend that everything is okay. When rumors surround Matisse at school and her father's symptoms worsen, Matisse realizes that the friends she's making in Prague are the kind you can count on. They help Matisse find the strength to reach out to her father, who may not be as far from her as she thought. And one particular farm boy shows Matisse that country living is a lot more magical than she ever imagined.

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About the Author:

Daphne Grab grew up in a small town in upstate New York. She has worked at a number of jobs, including teaching high school history, building houses for Habitat for Humanity, and teaching English in China. She also earned an MFA in creative writing at the New School. In 1998 she moved to New York City, where she discovered that she has always been a city girl at heart. She lives there now with her husband and children.

Review:

...excellent narrative voice, touching emotional connection and playful rural activities will take readers on their own relaxing hayride. -- Kirkus

The story provides a safe and positive alternative to teens who are hoping for happy endings in their own lives. -- School Library Journal

When Matisse's sculptor dad develops Parkinson's disease, he can no longer work to his satisfaction, and the family moves from New York City to tiny, upstate Prague. Stunned by living in a place where the only pizza parlor "didn't even have sun-dried tomatoes as a topping," and embarrassed and scared by her father's quickly worsening illness, Matisse falls into a serious funk. Her new high school is lame, the other students are limited and boring, and many are downright mean. When she connects with new friend Violet, the two eventually manage to grow toward helpful self-knowledge; meantime, aspiring organic farmer Hal begins to seem less and less like the clueless hick Matisse had assumed. The heroine's strong, clear voice and heartbreaking vulnerability propel the story forward, engaging the reader from the start. Maybe things turn around a little too neatly at the end, but that won't bother fans of character-driven fiction seasoned with both romance and angst. -- Booklist

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