12 Feb / Peeled by Joan Bauer
Sleepy little Banesville, New York is famous for its delicious apples … although lately, the family-friendly orchard town is getting too much attention for being haunted. Could “The Happiest Town in the Happy Apple Valley” really be home to a cantankerous old ghost with murder on his mind?
As a writer for the high school paper, Hildy Biddle is determined to find answers; her stories are nothing like those in the local newspaper which pander heavily to the townspeople’s growing fear and hysteria. Hildy’s much-admired reporter father – who passed away suddenly and far too early – instilled in his daughter quite a passionate sense of justice.
Now with the help of an acerbic ex-star journalist who begrudgingly signs on as the school paper’s advisor, Hildy peels away the misleading hype and finds her hometown facing far greater danger than a few ghost stories. From a no-fuss Homecoming Queen to a Polish freedom fighter to a mysterious new student offering his scientific assistance, Hildy’s friends and family refuse to be haunted … by the living or the dead!
Joan Bauer has again created an inspirational small town story empowered by its determined, dedicated youth. Go, kids, go! Witty and sharp both, Bauer skewers commercial sprawl, greedy corporate suits, not to mention plain old bad writing. Bauer’s message is unerringly clear: honesty can and will conquer all. At least in Banesville, the bad guys never had a chance. If only the rest of the world were so easy to fix!
Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult