Saturday, December 3, 2011

Good Graces

I fell in love with Lesley Kagen's book, Whistling In the Dark, and now I have fallen in love with the sequel, Good Graces.

Good Graces begins one year after Whistling in the Dark Ends, and Sally is one year older, but just as funny as she was in the first book. She is still dealing with the after-effects of narrowly escaping being abducted and abused, developing a relationship with Dave, her father, and trying to keep an eye on her mischevious sister Troo.

Troo is a girl who is hard to keep an eye on. She is spending some extra time with the priest, Father Mick, so she will be able to return to her Catholic school in the fall. She is also very good at disappearing from Sally. Sometimes that is OK, and Sally is pleasantly surprised with her sister's secret activities. But there are plenty of other times that Troo really could use Sally's voice of reason.

Father Mick seems to be a bit suspicious to Sally, and as the story unfolds there is certainly more to this priest than what meets the eye. While Sally is busy trying to determine what Father Mick is up to, she is also worried that Greasy Al, Troo's archrival from the previous year, will show up to seek revenge on Troo after he disappears from the reform school he had been sent to. And, Sally is still busy getting to know her father, Dave.

Kagen has again captured life in the late 50s in Milwaukee. Although I was amazed at how Troo is able to smoke cigarettes without her mother's knowledge, I also know that during this time, children were given more freedoms than is normal now, and running the neighborhood was not that unusual. This cast of characters continues to bring a smile to my face, especially Sally, whose voice is so original and endearing.

While Whistling in the Dark was a novel that ended without a true need (at least in my opinion) of a follow-up, Good Graces is one that ends with several questions still lingering. I hope Kagen is busy on a third installment of Sally and Troo because I am anxious to read more about them.

Sally is having a hard time watching Troo, who is good at finding trouble. Because she is in trouble at school, she has had to spend extra time with the priest, Father Mick.

Good Graces could certainly be a stand-alone novel, and its cover is one that immediately called to me.

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