Wednesday, July 4, 2012
The Girl Is Trouble
The Girl Is Trouble by Kathryn Miller Haines
Roaring Brook Press, 2012
YA Historical Mystery
Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Although not enthused with the behavior of main character Iris in The Girl Is Murder, I loved the setting and was eager to return. Thus I was very pleased that my request was accepted on Netgalley and I happily dove into this part two.
More good news-Iris has somewhat learned her lesson about lying and sneaking around although she still does quite a bit in this book. But unlike last time, it didn't really bother me. In fact, I was very much Team Iris, supporting her through her trials and travails.
And it is very good that I liked Iris so much as she is our guide through this book ramping up the suspense and danger. Iris' first problem is the threatening notes Jewish students at her school are receiving; although Iris is no longer practicing, her family background in investigation makes her an obvious candidate to figure out who is harassing them. One of the suspects is her best friend Pearl, who has been ostracized and given the unfortunate nickname Pearl Harbor. But Iris cannot imagine Pearl doing such acts and wants to get to the bottom of the case.
That is, she wants to do so until she uncovers some shocking new evidence in her mother's suicide. Let's just say there is nothing simple or straightforward but instead lies and undercover shady acts abound. This comes to consume Iris and test her beyond anything she's done so far. Because of the personal nature of the case, I was easily able to feel for Iris. Her entire world was rocked and Iris' bravery in pursuing the truth really impressed me even as she was sometimes foolhardy when considering the potential danger.
So I've shared that I liked Iris in this book but what about the other characters? First, Pearl-one of the best best friends I've read in YA lately. She is in sync with Iris and aids her at several key junctures besides just being good emotional support. Then there is Iris' love interest, the bad boy Benny. Although I don't usually like the bad boy in YA lit, it helps that he seems to have a sweet heart deep down below his juvenile delinquent antics. As for the adults, I loved Iris' aunt and continue to adore her Polish landlady. I also loved getting to know more about Iris' mother in her final days-the love she had for her daughter and husband is touching and her end is very heartbreaking. The villains, being largely pro-Nazi/anti-Semitic, are quite easy to dislike and mostly receive their justice by the end. That may not always be the case in the real world, but I'm glad it usually happens in book world.
Overall: A strong second book, successfully evoking the 1940s WWII era while also strengthening the characterization and tying together two strands of mystery into one cohesive story. I'm expecting there to be a third book that will even top this!
Cover: I love pretty much everything about this, even including the fact that she's kind of looking at me-I think it helps that her face is pretty small and she seems suspicious of me. I really love her skirt as polka-dots are my favorite pattern. It's actually the same outfit as on the cover of the first book, which is great as not much time as passed and Iris doesn't have money for new clothes.