|The Romeo and Juliet Code|
by Phoebe Stone
"A sudden trip to a seaside house. A boy with brown sugar eyes. And then , a mysterious letter.
Felicity's glamorous parents have a secret. When they leave her with distant relatives in Maine, far away from the battles of WWII, Felicity hopes they won't be gone for long. Her new Uncle Gideon hides things. Her Aunt Miami is star-crossed. And Derek, a kid her age, refuses to leave his room.
But Felicity needs Derek's help. Gideon is getting coded letters from Felicity's parents, and she's sure they're in trouble. Can Felicity crack the code, heal the family and save her parents, all while surviving her first crush? It's a tall order for a small girl, but Felicity is up for the challenge."
There are some things I really liked about this book, and other things that really bugged me. I liked the setting and the idea of a British girl coming to live with her American relatives during WWII. The characters were intriguing, but I had a hard time liking most of them. The main character, who was supposed to be British, kept rubbing that in our faces so much that it felt more like an American girl who was just trying to be British. And all the "British children do this" stereotypes got old quickly. Since this review is being written by a confirmed Brit-Lit snob, to say that you could tell it was an American author is not a compliment. I also had a hard time liking a mother and father who left their small daughter alone and scared at night. They didn't have any neighbors, friends or family who could have stayed with her? And then the other revelations later in the book about the parents increased that dislike. At the end of the book, the heroine takes something very calmly that should have been completely earth-shattering to her. It was not very realistic at all. So while it was a good story with some tension in it and I read it quickly, there were definitely things that I wish were different. I'm not sure the story is gripping enough to keep middle schoolers moving through it.
Areas of concern:
Adultery is hinted at. I don't remember any bad language.
Booklist - Grades 5-8
Kirkus Reviews - Ages 9-13