Saturday, May 11, 2013

Balliett's Latest Enjoyable, Just Not Exceptional

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Dashel Pearl isn't the most conventional of fathers, but he loves his family and would never abandon them.  Would he?  The longer he's gone, the harder 11-year-old Early worries.  Where has her missing father gone?  Is he ever coming back?  

Wherever Dashel has disappeared to, he's left a huge mess behind him.  Not only has he broken his family's hearts, but he's crossed some very dangerous people.  The thugs claim Dashel stole something from them.  Early doesn't know what that may be, she only knows that they will stop at nothing to get it back.  The Pearls can't return to the apartment the thugs ripped apart, but where else can they live?  With barely a penny to their names, they have no choice but to hole up at a homeless shelter in a dingy, rundown section of Chicago. 

As everyone else's faith in Dashel fades, Early knows she has to hold fast to her hope.  It's all she's got left.  Besides, she's found some clues to her father's disappearance, hints that indicate he didn't flee by choice.  No one believes her, but Early knows her dad—he moved to his own, unique rhythm.  If she can just figure out the puzzle he's left behind, she can find Dashel.  

All Early wants is her family back together in a home where they can live in peace and safety.  But as things come to a boiling point, Early knows her wish may be nothing more than an impossible dream.  

Hold Fast, a new middle grade mystery by Blue Balliett, is my second venture with this author.  And I feel the same way about her latest as I did about The Danger Box—it's enjoyable, just not exceptional.  The Pearls are certainly sympathetic characters, and lovable ones.  They've got a different kind of rhythm to them, which makes them not just fun, but uniquely so.  I cared about what happened to them.  The plot of the book moves pretty swiftly as well.  It held my attention and kept me guessing.  Overall, though, the story didn't knock my socks off or anything.  It's a decent book, just not an oh-my-gosh-you-need-to-drop-everything-and-read-this-now one.  

(Readalikes:  Reminds me a little of The Danger Box by Blue Balliett)

Grade:  B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG for scary situations

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Hold Fast by Blue Balliett from the generous folks at Scholastic.  Thank you!   

2 comments:

  1. My daughter loved Balliett's "Chasing Vermeer" and "The Wright 3". She's older now, but I think I'll let her know that Balliett has a new book out.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I didn't really like Chasing Vermeer very much--I think it was a matter of expectation. I really like the cover of this one for what it's worth :)

    ReplyDelete

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