Margaret's father died in a mysterious drowning accident when she was eight years old. Four years later, her mother still won't talk about it -- in fact, she doesn't talk about much of anything. But when Margaret's mother takes her and her little sister, Sophie, to a strange abandoned mansion and puts a FOR SALE BY OWNER sign in the front yard, Margaret is determined to solve the puzzle of her family, once and for all.
Armed with three strange clues -- a swimming medal, a key, and a handwritten comic book -- Margaret returns to the mansion alone. With the help of Boyd, the lonely, comic-book-obsessed boy next door, she discovers that truth can be stranger than fiction -- depending on who's telling the story.
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Sara Nickerson lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband, Matthew, and their son, Simon. This is her first novel.From School Library Journal:
Grades 6-10--Margaret Clairmont, 12, can barely remember her father or the last time her mother woke up long enough to take them somewhere beyond the grocery store and Laundromat. Their sudden unexpected visit to place a "For Sale by Owner" sign on a dilapidated mansion on an island in the Pacific Northwest is the basis of this interesting mystery. The resolution of a long-standing family tragedy is slowly pieced together in this novel that bears a strong resemblance to Margaret's little sister Sophie's favorite distraction, "THE HARDEST JIGSAW EVER MADE." Parts of the story are Margaret's, describing in a relatively straightforward fashion her secret return to the island to find an explanation for the comic she found in an unopened package addressed to her mother. Parts belong to Boyd, the boy who lives next door to the mansion physically but dwells emotionally within the comics that appear in the island's odd library. Underneath their story is that of an earlier unhappy teenager, who found himself growing physically repulsive as he matured. He became more and more reclusive, even ratlike, and grew to be a man who could never rid himself of his guilt over the death of his idolized older brother. Most of the story is told in prose, in first or third person, but some parts are revealed in the graphic form of the comic books. Even the narrator twists and turns, as the first-person storyteller's identity changes. The satisfying ending will reward readers who have made their way through this tangled tale, but all but the best will probably find themselves considerably confused along the way.
Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description HarperCollins, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. First Paperback Edition. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0064410277
Book Description HarperCollins, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110064410277
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Book Description HarperCollins, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 64410277
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