cover image Land of a Hundred Wonders

Land of a Hundred Wonders

Lesley Kagen, . . NAL Accent, $14 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-451-22409-5

Set in Cray Ridge, Ky., in 1973, Kagen's winsome second novel (after Whistling in the Dark ) offers laughter and bittersweet sighs. As a child, NQR (“Not Quite Right”) Gibby McGraw survived an auto accident that claimed her parents' lives, but left her somewhat mentally challenged. Now 20 and living with her beloved grampa, Gibby publishes Gibby's Gazette , distributed from local hot spots like Loretta's Candy World and Washateria. Gibby's latest scoop, complete with photos, is her discovery of the body of politician Buster Malloy, who aspired to become governor. Gibby launches a “meticulous investigation” complicated by nasty Sneaky Tim Ray Holloway stealing her briefcase. Other distractions include her best friend Clever's getting knocked up and disturbing times in Browntown, an African-American community. Though Gibby can get discombobulated, this wonderfully wise Nancy Drew strives mightily to become QR (“Quite Right”) in the head: she was already QR in the heart. Author tour. (Aug.)