Wednesday, February 10, 2016

10 Things I Loved About Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick

Truly Lovejoy is twelve years old, almost six feet tall, the middle of five kids, and is once again having to start over at a new school, this time in the tiny little town of Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire. Half of the town is named after the Lovejoys, but that doesn't make Truly feel like she belongs. In fact, her entire life has felt inside out and upside down ever since her father was injured by an IED in Afghanistan and became the Silent Man. They had to leave their house in Texas to move to Pumpkin Falls so he and his sister can take over their parents bookshop. But when the bookshop starts failing and a first edition autographed copy of Charlotte's Web goes missing Truly gets caught up in a mystery bigger than she can handle on her own. As she follows clues left in a hidden letter Truly starts to get to know some of the other kids and finds that maybe family and friends are what truly make a place home.

  1. Truly's Family - I loved the portrayal of Truly's family. Books about big families can sometimes feel cliche, but the Lovejoys felt so authentic. The teasing, the caring, the conflicts - all rang very familiar (as someone from a big family).
  2. Truly's Siblings - Yes, I know they're part of Truly's family, but I particularly loved her siblings. Hatcher and his nickname for Truly and the way he sees her when she gets lost in the shuffle, Pippa's lisp and habit for being brutally, kid-speakingly honest. The way they all love each other but also drive each other crazy added a great layer to Truly's story.
  3. Truly - Her voice was well developed through the story. The first person narrative really allowed her to shine through and reveal her frustrations, insecurities, and strengths. I thought she was so authentically drawn.
  4. Truly's Bird Watching Hobby - I loved the way Truly classifies everyone she meets by determining what kind of bird they remind her of. It's a really interesting way of showing a sort of coping mechanism she uses to classify her world that is constantly shifting and changing.
  5. Truly's Friends - I loved how different they were and how they complimented each other. The way their friendships developed was done well, too, with different relationships developing at different speeds and being affected by the different events and challenges they face.
  6. Pumpkin Falls - If I didn't want to live in Stars Hollow, I would totally live in Pumpkin Falls. I loved the picture of small town life and the way everyone knows everyone for better or for worse. Complete with the quirky characters and nosy busybodies that managed not to feel cliche.
  7. Aunt True - What story about a big family moving to a tiny town to operate a book store would be complete without a quirky world-travelling aunt who lives over the shop and has a cat? Yet once again Aunt True is an interesting and entertaining character who has a sweet relationship with Truly and the rest of the family.
  8. Silent Man - I appreciated the way the author dealt with the effects of Truly's father's injury on the whole family, especially the kids. It was heartbreaking to see the way Truly and her brothers and sisters feel a bit like they're walking on eggshells. They have to be careful not to say something that would remind their father of what he's lost or that might make him withdraw back into himself. It was a rough subject to deal with and I thought she handled it well, without a "miracle" cure in the end.
  9. The Mystery - Although it wasn't a huge mystery, I liked the way the coded letters helped Truly get to know the town better and develop friendships with other kids in the town. And I liked that they were able to solve the mystery. It was a light and fun adventure and I liked that.
  10. The hope that, since this is labelled as "A Pumpkin Fall Mystery," there might be more hi-jinks in store for Truly and the rest of the Pumpkin Falls crew.

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