Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader and Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.
The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson. 340 p. Arthur A. Levine Books/ Scholastic Inc., March 27, 2018. 9780545946179.
Publisher synopsis: When Candice finds a letter in an old attic in Lambert, South Carolina, she isn't sure she should read it. It's addressed to her grandmother, who left the town in shame. But the letter describes a young woman. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding the letter-writer. And the fortune that awaits the person who solves the puzzle.
So with the help of Brandon Jones, the quiet boy across the street, she begins to decipher the clues. The challenge will lead them deep into Lambert's history, full of ugly deeds, forgotten heroes, and one great love; and deeper into their own families, with their own unspoken secrets. Can they find the fortune and fulfill the letter's promise before the answers slip into the past yet again?
First Line: October 17, 2007
April Caldwell stared at the letter.
The letter stared back.
Page 56: "Do you have a computer and Internet at home?" Candace asked Brandon as they entered the atrium. "Please tell me you do. Now that we know his name, this could be our big break."
"It's super-slow, but it works," Brandon said. :Do you really think it's that simple? We do a web search on this Parker guy, and that leads us to the money? That seems...I don't know. Convenient. Easy."
"Maybe. It's just that I can't help but wonder-what if this was the one clue my grandma missed-just like we almost did. What if..."
The Westing Game is pretty popular at my school as are Johnson's "Heist" books. I've enjoyed his YA fare and am thrilled that he's turned his talents to middle grade.