Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Wig in the Window

We are thrilled to be participating in The Wig in the Window blog tour today! A big thank you to Alethea for organizing this. We thank HarperCollins for the ARCs to review and Kristen for a signed copy of The Wig in the Window to giveaway! We know you've heard the buzz about The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher here and on Twitter, now you have a chance to read it!

Title: The Wig in the Window 
Author: Kristen Kittscher 
Publisher: Harper Collins 
Publication Date: June 18th, 2013 
Genre/Format: Mystery/Novel 
GoodReads Summary: Best friends and seventh graders Sophie Young and Grace Yang have made a game out of spying on their neighbors. On one of their midnight stakeouts, they witness a terrifying, bloody scene at the home of their bizarre middle-school counselor, Dr. Charlotte Agford (aka Dr. Awkward).

At least, they think they do. The truth is that Dr. Agford was only making her famous pickled beets! But when Dr. Agford begins acting even weirder than usual, Sophie and Grace become convinced that she’s hiding something—and they’re determined to find out what it is.

Soon the girls are breaking secret codes, being followed by a strange blue car, and tailing strangers with unibrows and Texas accents. But as their investigation heats up, Sophie and Grace start to crack under the pressure. They might solve their case, but will their friendship survive?
Perfect for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Wig in the Window is a smart, funny middle-grade mystery with a REAR WINDOW twist. 

What Jen Thinks: I got completely caught up in this great mystery! What I loved most about this book were the characters, Grace and Sophie are best friends but their friendship is very real...which basically means it's not perfect. While they use walkie talkies and sneak out of their houses together, Sophie attends public school and Grace is homeschooled. Because of this, they each have other friends who cause them to think about how these other friends factor into or impact their friendship with each other. The mystery with Sophie's school counselor, Dr. Agford, had me trying to figure out what was going on and anxiously curious to find out just what was really going on but the story of Sophie and Grace's friendship all along is what I really loved about this book. It's great to see a friendship so honestly portrayed in a book.
     Part of why I was so drawn to how Kristen wrote about Sophie and Grace's friendship is that it is so real and it's what I'm working on right now with my own writing. It's fascinating to me how what I'm working on as a writer is impacting how I read books. I think kids will connect with Sophie and Grace because of how well Kristen weaves the story of their friendship into the story. As a writing activity, I think it would be great for kids to write about one of their own best friends but to focus on a time in their friendship when things weren't exactly perfect and share how they resolved an issue with a friend. I imagine kids will have lots to say about their friends!
What Kellee Thinks: In the tradition of Nancy Drew, and, in this case, Sun Tzu, Young and Yang are on the case! This book immediately draws you in and the action never stops. You are predicting and trying to solve the mystery right alongside Sophie and Grace throughout the whole book! Twist and turns keep you guessing and the ending is quite an adventure!
     One of the things I liked the most about this book were the characters. There are 3 main girl characters (Trista is a friend of Sophie's from school) and they all three have different personalities yet are still strong. Grace is the girly girl (but isn't an airhead) who aspires to be FBI but is also completely opposite than a Chinese stereotype. Sophie embraces Grace's culture, is obsessed with feng shui, has a war story telling grandpa, and is always along for the ride. Trista never lets the bullies get her down, is BRILLIANT, and ends up being a true friend. What a great example of Girl Power! And what makes all of this even better is that these three very different girls are friends. 
     Underneath the mystery and amazing characters is a theme that you find often in middle grade books- identity and change. Although it isn't always evident, this book is also about determining who your true friends are, how to deal with bullies, how to deal with boys, how to deal with gossip, and many other things that middle schoolers deal with on a regular basis. Love that Kristen Kittscher was able to put all of this within a nail biting mystery.  
Read Together: Grades 4 - 7
Read Alone: Grades 4 - 8
Read With: Chasing Vermeer & The Wright Three (and others) by Blue Balliett, Genius Files (series) by Dan Gutman, Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene, Samantha Sutton and the Labyrinth of Lies by Jordan Jacobs, Capture the Flag & Hide and Seek by Kate Messner, Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach (Also, because of their part in the story: The Art of War by Sun Tzu, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Call of the Wild by Jack London)
Snatch of Text: "The beanbag sighed as I shifted my weight. My sweaty legs stuck to its pleather surface. I wished I hadn't worn shorts." (p. 56) 
Mentor Text For: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Making Predictions, Personal Narrative, Characterization
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you had a disagreement or were confused by a friend? What did you to resolve the situation?
Topics Covered: Friendship, Family, Courage, Intuition, Mystery, Trust, Loyalty, Bullying, Assumptions
We *heart* It:


To hear what others think about The Wig in the Window, check out the other stops on the Blog Tour:

Wed | May 22 - Hobbitsies
Thu | May 23 - The Book Smugglers
Tue | May 28 - Read Now Sleep Later
Wed | May 29 - Teaching in Cute Shoes
Mon | June 3 - Great Kid Books
Wed | June 5 - Mod Podge Bookshelf
Mon | June 10 - Cracking the Cover
Wed | June 12 - Kid Lit Frenzy
Mon | June 17 – HeiseReads
Wed | June 19 - The Brain Lair
Thu | June 20 - Teach Mentor Texts
Fri | June 21 - The Windy Pages
Mon | June 24 - Sharpread
Thu | June 27 - There’s a Book
Fri | June 28 -
You can enter our giveaway here or find it at your local Indie store!

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