The Postcard
The Postcard
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Annotation: While in St. Petersburg, Florida, to help clean out his recently-deceased grandmother's house, thirteen-year-old Jason finds an old postcard which leads him on an adventure that blends figures from an old, unfinished detective story with his family's past.
Catalog Number: #27389
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Inventory Sale Inventory Sale
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition Date: 2009
Pages: 358 p.
Availability: Available (Limited Quantities Available / While Supplies Last)
ISBN: Publisher: 0-316-01173-8 Perma-Bound: 0-605-19741-5
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-316-01173-0 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-19741-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2007031074
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Abbott, author of Firegirl (2007) and the Droon series, sets no easy task for himself with this book, which contains a mystery within a mystery. Thirteen-year-old Jason is heading to St. Petersburg to help clean out the house of a deceased grandmother whom he's never met. As soon as he arrives, mystery meets him. Who are those odd people at the funeral? And what about the strange phone call that leads him to a tinted postcard of a Florida landmark about to be demolished? The postcard points Jason to several old manuscripts that tell the story of his grandparents' romance. Or do they? Abbott plays with style as he alternates between the contemporary mystery of finding the manuscripts with the manuscripts themselves, written in a hard-boiled detective style. The result is sometimes too convoluted, but the book is so enticing that readers will go along even when the going is rough. Jason (paired nicely with a neighbor girl as sidekick) is a hero worth rooting for. Kudos, too, to the book's designer, whose use of old postcards heightens the appeal.
Horn Book
Before his grandmother's funeral, Jason finds a postcard whose clues lead him to chapters of a pulp mystery stashed at local Florida landmarks. The mystery's similarities to his grandmother's life make Jason believe he's tracking his unknown grandfather. Too many of the book's outlandish characters are unbelievable, leaving the madcap story only barely cohesive, but the action thrives at a breakneck pace.
Kirkus Reviews
Thirteen-year-old Jason fears his parents are breaking up. When his estranged (and strange) grandmother passes away in Florida, his possibly alcoholic father goes down to take care of her estate; Jason worries that means his father is moving out. Jason goes to Florida to attend the funeral as well as to keep an eye on dad. In his grandmother's things, Jason finds a magazine containing a pulp-noir story that seems to be about his grandmother and great-grandfather, one of the original Florida land barons. He also finds a mysterious postcard that hints at the location of further installments of the story. With the help of local teen Dia, Jason uncovers the solution to a family mystery that just may save his father. Author of the endless Secrets of Droon series, Abbott has created a silly, overlong mystery full of conclusion-jumping and nonsensical clues. The characters are annoying (even to each other) and the supposedly compelling mystery Jason finds is a florid, turgid mess. (Fiction. 11-13)
School Library Journal
Gr 58 Retirement mecca St. Petersburg provides the perfect backdrop for Abbot's mystery. Jason, 13, flies down to Florida to help his dad settle his grandmother's estate. Worried about his parents' marriage and disgusted with the heat and totally bored, he is intrigued when he finds an old postcard of his grandmother's. A hotel on it is the same one that appears in a mystery in an old magazine that he also finds in her house. The stories star someone called Marnie, a name that the funeral director calls Jason's grandmother, Agnes. Jason suspects that it wasn't a slip of the tongue after all, and that the tales really feature his grandmother. A mysterious phone call leads the teen and his new friend Dia to follow a trail of vintage postcards through local landmarks. Abbott's gift for creating complicated, realistic young characters is evident in Jason, but he is joined by stock characters from the pages of an old gumshoe mystery. The contrast between Jason's real adolescent angst and the clichéd mystery woven throughout makes each element seem richer. The surprise ending to the mystery and the not-so-surprising ending to Jason's real-life drama are quite satisfying. While less-sophisticated readers might be confused by the scene switches caused by the story-within-a-story format, many will enjoy this novel. Nicki Clausen-Grace, Carillon Elementary School, Oviedo, FL
Voice of Youth Advocates
Thirteen-year-old Jason is in Florida helping his father clean out his grandmother's house following her death. Jason never knew his grandmother and is only recently learning about her from his dad. When he finds a story in a 1940s-era magazine, some of the details are eerily similar to things he has just heard about his grandmother. The story tells of love at first sight for Marnie and Nick, but Marnie's powerful father keeps them apart. Could the rich, beautiful Marnie in the story really be Jason's grandmother? And who is Nick? The story ends abruptly, and the author's death notice appears in the next issue of the magazine. A mysterious phone call sends Jason in search of more chapters as it directs him to his grandmother's desk and an old, yellowed postcard containing clues to the location of the next chapter. Marnie and Nick's story unfolds as Jason follows clues and finds the succeeding chapters. The hunt helps Jason avoid facing the fact that his parents' marriage is crumbling and his father's drinking could be part of the problem. This book succeeds on many levels. Fans of romance and adventure will enjoy Nick and Marnie's story with its quirky characters. Jason's take on his unexpected summer adventure will engage readers who enjoy realistic fiction, especially his budding friendship with a neighborhood girl who joins him in tracking down the chapters. A less capable author could easily have confused readers with everything that is going on in this book, but Abbott weaves a fun, engaging tale that draws in readers and keeps them entertained.-Debbie Clifford.
Word Count: 64,956
Reading Level: 4.0
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.0 / points: 9.0 / quiz: 121312 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.5 / points:17.0 / quiz:Q43509
Lexile: 630L
Guided Reading Level: X
Fountas & Pinnell: X

"So how smart are you?" said a man's voice abruptly. And loudly. "Because now... it's starting."

A creepy phone call. An old, yellowed postcard. A bizarre magazine story. And a strange group of funeral-goers who seem to follow their every move-all contain clues that will send Jason and Dia on an adventure to uncover extraordinary family secrets.

Award-winning author Tony Abbott weaves an intriguing and entertaining mystery of adventure, friendship and family.

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