cover image Tell Me

Tell Me

Joan Bauer. Viking, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-451-47033-1

Anna McConnell, a budding actress about to enter eighth grade, proves that one person can make a difference, in this novel filled with comedy and drama. While Anna’s parents take a break from each other, Anna stays with her grandmother in Rosemont, Va., where preparations are being made for the annual flower festival. Amid the hoopla, Anna, playing the role of a petunia at the local library, notices something unusual: a scared-looking girl trying to escape from a van. Haunted by the image, Anna won’t rest until she finds answers about what happened to the girl. Luckily, her grandmother and some newfound friends share her concern and are willing to lend a hand. The story is at times cluttered with tangents involving other characters’ conflicts, but Bauer (Almost Home) skillfully weaves subplots together as Rosemont citizens (and Anna’s parents) rise to the challenge of solving the mystery. Anna emerges as a quick-thinking director and a creative actress, assigning roles to volunteers and orchestrating a happy ending for at least one unhappy child. Ages 10–up. Agent: George Nicholson, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Sept.)