Midnight in the Piazza

Tiffany Parks. Harper, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-264452-7
Beatrice Archer isn’t pleased when her art historian father is offered a position at the American Academy in Rome. However, the 13-year-old quickly discovers that there are advantages to being a young expat in Italy beyond ready access to gelato. From her window overlooking Piazza Mattei and the famous Fontana delle Tartarughe in the Jewish quarter, Beatrice witnesses someone steal the bronze turtles that give the fountain its name, then replace them with fakes. Her father refuses to believe her story, so Beatrice enlists a local boy, Marco, to help her investigate. Debut author Parks, herself an expat living in Rome, laces Beatrice’s fictional investigation with Italian phrases (translated in footnotes) and information about Roman architecture, art, and history, giving readers a window into contemporary life among centuries-old artwork and ruins. She keeps Beatrice’s adventure moving at a fast clip, even addressing a few things that skeptical readers may find overly coincidental through a conversation with a neighbor who explains synchronicity. It’s a charming love letter to Rome with an exciting mystery at its core. Ages 8–12. Agent: John Silbersack, Trident Media Group. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/08/2018
Release date: 03/01/2018
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-264454-1
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