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One of the challenge points on the Better World Books 2017 Reading […]
M. E. Kerr
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One of the Hispanic workers had made the sign as the house was being prepared for its new owner. When Rosalind Slaymaster was finally ready to live there, everyone in the small Pennsylvanis town had come to call the place Peligro.
It was like Mrs. Slaymaster to leave it that way.
She was said to be the richest woman in Bucks County. When Edgar Tobbit first met her, he thought she didn't look rich, but it didn't take him very long to realize she wasn't like anyone else, either.
Neither was her teenage niece, Julie, who arrived at school every day in a white Hummer.
And neither was Peale, the two-foot leather mannequin who had his own wardrobe of tailor-made suits; his own passport, bedroom, and television.
Peale was said to grant wishes and make dreams come true.
"What's Peligro like?" Edgar's friend asks him. And Edgar invites him to a party there on Christmas Eve.
That is how Neal Kraft and Julie first meet.
The threesome quickly become fast friends and, in a short while, change one another's lives, barely aware of the old secrets that inspire Mrs. Slaymaster's revenge on the town.
Through it all Peale sits among them with his green glass eyes bright and watchful, as though he knows what's coming.
"What Became of Her" is partly based on some real-life characters the author has never been able to forget.
Books for the Teen Age 2001 (NYPL)
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