Hallie Meredith is angry at God and feeling sorry for herself. Her beloved father died in a car accident, and her whole life has turned upside down. Her mother has had to find a job, and they’ve moved to a cramped apartment in an old mansion, away from Hallie’s old friends and her school. Looking for somewhere–anywhere–to hide from her lousy life, Hallie discovers the old mansion’s mysterious attic, and a secret window where she can spy straight into another family’s life.At first it’s a game, sneaking up to the attic, forgetting her own troubles for a while as she watches the strange doings of this oddly dysfunctional family. But as the mystery of what is going on on the other side of the window deepens, Hallie becomes increasingly involved in the intimate lives of people she really doesn’t know, and the game turns into a kind of addiction. When she sees signs of danger, Hallie tries to help, and that may be the best way she can help herself as well.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s three Newbery Honor—winning books are The Witches of Worm, The Headless Cupid, and The Egypt Game. Her most recent novel is Gib and the Gray Ghost.From School Library Journal:
Grade 4-8-Miserable in her new middle school and angry with God for her father's accidental death, Hallie becomes fascinated by the view from a nearly boarded-up window in her attic. Through the spyhole, she gets intriguing glimpses into the apartment of a possibly dysfunctional family. She coincidentally meets nine-year-old Zachary Crestman, the boy who lives there, at the public library. Without divulging her continuing compulsion to spy on his family, she eventually learns that the object in his apartment that she thought was a gun is actually an electronic notebook and that his sister, whom she thought was tragically distraught because of being forbidden to see her boyfriend, is actually just fine and dating a new boy who meets her father's approval. Snyder takes her time setting up the story-Hallie doesn't meet Zachary until about the middle of the book-but, in the end, the plot seems rushed. If readers are not distracted by the red herrings (Are there really ghosts in the attic? Why do the people who live downstairs act so strangely? Why were the mysterious Crestmans written about in the newspaper?), they may find that the clearly explained theme has merit: getting involved in the lives of others (looking outward through windows) is more effective than dwelling on one's hurt (looking in mirrors). This is not Snyder's strongest work, but the suspense related to the mysterious goings-on in the neighbor's apartment will keep readers turning the pages.
Ellen Fader, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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