cover image Absolutely Truly

Absolutely Truly

Heather Vogel Frederick. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-4424-2972-7

Six months ago, 12-year-old Truly Lovejoy’s life was perfect: her military family had finally settled down in Texas, and she was beginning to make friends. That was before Truly’s army pilot father lost an arm in Afghanistan and decided to move the family to his hometown to take over his parents’ failing bookstore. This first installment of Frederick’s Pumpkin Falls Mystery series, starring an endearing middle schooler who bemoans both her name and her towering height, focuses on themes of adjustment, small-town life, and teamwork. Stuck in a “population you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire” during “the coldest winter on record,” Truly is distracted from her disappointment when she discovers a letter tucked inside one of the bookshop’s rarest books. Soon she’s on a treasure hunt, trying to find clues to a 20-year-old puzzle involving two young lovers. There are conflicts with bullies along the way, but Truly also makes an assortment of friends and acquaintances, including some eccentric citizens. Well- developed characters, a cozy community, and an intriguing mystery will warm hearts and pique readers’ curiosity. Ages 8–12. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Nov.)