Truth with a Capital [cf4]T[cf3]

265p. 978-0-38573-837-8.
Gr 4—6—Eleven-year-old Maebelle is excited about spending the summer in rural Georgia with her grandparents, who are country music singers, until she discovers that her adopted African-American cousin, Isaac, who is a 10-year-old trumpet prodigy, has also been invited. Maebelle's grandparents have inherited a home from an eccentric aunt who locked one wing of the house to hide a family secret. Maebelle desperately wants to uncover the mystery but is strictly forbidden to enter the area. The story begins slowly as the cousins vie for their grandparents' attention and play with friends and neighbors. The last few chapters reveal the secret, which is connected to the original owners of the house, their slaves, and the Underground Railroad. The real story isn't so much the mystery but the two very different cousins learning to get along and appreciate one another. The children are fairly well developed, and the grandparents are believable. However, the author has tried to make the characters sound Southern in their speech, but has done it in a way that detracts from the story rather than enhancing it.—Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC
Maebelle T. Earl is looking forward to spending the summer with her grandparents in Georgia--then her adopted cousin barges in. Maebelle feels like she doesn't fit in anymore until she uncovers a family secret that ultimately unites them all. Although the plot tends to wander, Maebelle's likable voice will carry readers through to the satisfying conclusion.

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