Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Jenn's Review: Under the Egg


Author: Laura Marx Fitzgerald
Series: none
Publication Date: March 18, 2014
Publisher: Dial
Pages: 247
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Middle Grade Mystery, Art History
Rating: 3.75
Bottom Line: Monument Men for Middle Grade
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library
Blurb:  When Theodora Tenpenny spills a bottle of rubbing alcohol on her late grandfather’s painting, she discovers what seems to be an old Renaissance masterpiece underneath. That’s great news for Theo, who’s struggling to hang onto her family’s two-hundred-year-old townhouse and support her unstable mother on her grandfather’s legacy of $463. There’s just one problem: Theo’s grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she worries the painting may be stolen.

With the help of some unusual new friends, Theo's search for answers takes her all around Manhattan, and introduces her to a side of the city—and her grandfather—that she never knew. To solve the mystery, she'll have to abandon her hard-won self-reliance and build a community, one serendipitous friendship at a time.

Review:  Laura Marx Fitzgerald has written an excellent debut Middle Grade novel.  I was intrigued by the concept of Under the Egg when it was presented to me.  I enjoy reading WWII history so it couldn't have been a better fit, actually.

I was a little concerned at the outset about the subject matter fitting into Middle Grade, but I needn't have been.  Ms. Fitzgerald does an excellent job giving enough information to make it accessible, without things getting too heavy.  I think Under the Egg might be more interesting to children who have at least a cursory knowledge of WWII, but the novel brings enough to the table that it is not required.  Although the plot was wrapped up overly neat, I think it was a fitting end.

Theo is an appealing heroine.  While I understand the reasoning behind making her stiuation dire, I'm not sure that it had to be quite as severe as it is written.  It seemed overly harsh.  I enjoyed her unlikely friendship with  Bodhi and how the two work well together; it's obvious that they need each other.  Ms. Fitzgerald wrote characters I would love to see again (It would be fascinating to revisit Theo all grown up!) and I think that, above all, is what makes this such a wonderful novel.

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