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The Adventures of Charley Darwin

Carolyn Meyer, Author . Harcourt $17 (321p) ISBN 978-0-15-206194-4

Focusing on Charles Darwin's youth, this historical novel hooks readers with a revelatory opener: Darwin's nose almost kept him off the Beagle —the captain believed that facial features indicated character and the 22-year-old Darwin's honker bespoke a lack of energy and determination. Entertaining her audience throughout, Meyer (Mary, Bloody Mary ) keeps Charley likable and easy to relate to, from his hatred of school food and fear of bullies to his anxiety over choosing a career. The pacing is particularly good, and readers get a full sense of Darwin's relationships and his joy in his discoveries. A well-told story that will appeal to all readers, not just those drawn to science. Ages 12-up. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 12/15/2008
Release date: 01/01/2009
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