Summer is fast approaching so now is the time to begin a summer reading list. You can add the last title I reviewed, "The Brass Monkeys." Although the book I am reviewing tonight is not Shakespearean in nature, "Romeo and Juliet" does play a significant role and it would make a good summer read for a preteen girls.
“The Romeo and Juliet Code”
By Phoebe Stone
For Ages 9 – 12
A coming-of-age story set during World War II, this tale combines mystery, romance and humor to create an compelling narrative of the era. Rated 4 (mystery, war, romance)
It’s 1941 and the Germans are bombing London. Eleven-year-old Felicity Bathburn Budwig is is secreted out of the city by her parents and taken to her father’s family home in Bottlebay, Maine. There, she is unceremoniously left with The Gram, Felicity’s grandmother; Aunt Miami; Uncle Gideon; and “Captain Derek,” a 12-year-old adopted orphan recovering from polio. Shortly after her parents leave Uncle Gideon begins receiving letters from Felicity’s father, who is now in Portugal. However, he won’t let Felicity see the letters. Why? She teams up with Derek to discover where the letters are and break the mysterious code in which they are written. Throughout the story Felicity uncovers secrets about her family and finds her own place in the world.
Although at times it can be tiring, Stone's lyrical prose is easy on the ears and does a fantastic job of describing America on the brink of World War II. Stone uses humor, romance and mystery well to break the stress of self discovery and war. The characters are well developed and, event though the novel feels a bit old fashioned, readers will identify with Felicity and her scheming ways.