cover image The Visconti House

The Visconti House

Elsbeth Edgar. Candlewick, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-7636-5019-3

Edgar's debut is a captivating story of friendship, mystery, and romance set in her native Australia. Laura feels like an outsider in her new town. Her parents are odd, her hair is odd, her hobbies are odd, and even though she lives in an old rundown mansion%E2%80%94which she loves%E2%80%94it's certainly not like other people's houses. What she really wants is to be normal, and that doesn't include hanging out with the weird new boy, Leon. But her curiosity is sparked when his grandmother mentions that she used to see lonely old Mr. Visconti on his walks, and Laura accepts Leon's help with her self-assigned project to learn more about the builder of her house. As they uncover clues and unravel the details of Visconti's tragic romance, Laura realizes that the more she spends time with Leon, the more she misses him when he's not around. In Edgar's hands Laura's house almost lives and breathes as Visconti's life is revealed; her evocative writing and inviting characters will draw readers in to this gentle examination of acceptance, diversity, and self-esteem. Ages 9%E2%80%93up. (Feb.)