July 14, 2012
Tess, Terrorist and the Tiara by Terry Baldwin
Thirteen-year old Tess has never been able to compete with her “perfect” older sister, but now she must—if she wants to inherit her grandmother’s priceless tiara. The two girls have been invited to their grandparent’s lake house for the summer to help take care of Grandma who’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The sister who earns the most “helpful points” wins the former beauty queen’s crown.
"It’s not easy for Tess, who seems to always get things wrong despite best intentions. And who is that mysterious stranger who’s just moved next door to their grandparents’ summer cottage?
Does he know that Tess’ grandmother was once the winner of a famous patriotic beauty contest? Or that she keeps her tiara where anyone can steal it? And why doesn’t he have a face?
Pages: 212 (Paperback)
Expected Release: August 10th
LONG STORY SHORT:
This book was a lot better than I expected it to be just by reading the synopsis. I was afraid the lesson provided by the book - about tolerance and the danger of prejudice- would be too much, but it turned out a quick, nice read that I would recommend for younger teens - actually even younger MG readers, because to the majority of the teenagers it might be too "childish".
When I accepted the book for review I did that only because I was really interested in how a story could contain terrorists, a tiara, prejudice, and Alzheimer's syndrome - and not turn a massive amount of lecturing.
I was surprised, though, how the author was able to not only write a very cute story with an adorable main character but also bind the message into the story. Tess was such a nice girl, standing in the shadow of her older sister and not having a very high opinion of herself. Then again,she's not whiny or anything and she tries to do the right thing. The little accidents that happen to her are really funny and make her a very sympathetic little girl.
Which brings me to an element of this book that I did not like. Throughout the whole story Tess - at least to me - seemed much younger than thirteen. She was quite naive and didn't know about a lot of things - facts that should be common to a thirteen year-old girl. That didn't hold me from enjoing the story, though. I just imagined her being no older than maybe nine or ten which is no problem because apart from the synopsis her age is never mentioned in the novel.
The plot itself was nothing uber-special. I mean, the events were very unexpected - but also kind of unrealistic so that should keep the balance :)
It did help,though, to deliver the message of the book. Tess made some mistakes and learned from them and I think that's what readers of this book would do, too.
All in all, Tess, Terrorist and the Tiara was a quick read I'd recommend for Middle Grade readers or everyone who is in the mood for a light children's novel with a valuable message.
I want to thank the author of this book and the publisher Middleton Books for offering me a digital review copy of Tess, Terrorists and the Tiara. That, of course, does not influence my view on the book :)