August 26, 2012

Review: Tess, Terrorists, and the Tiara

Title and author: Tess, Terrorists, and the Tiara by Terry Baldwin
Publisher: Middleton Books
Pages: 221
Release Date: August 10, 2012
ISBN: 9780971661189
Source: The publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

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?

My Thoughts:

While the novel’s heroine, Tess, is thirteen, the core audience for this book seems to be a bit younger, maybe ten or eleven.

Tess is a delightful character that a lot of young girls can find a piece of themselves. She is on the cusp of being a teenager, she has an older sister everyone seems to prefer, and she is quite forgetful. But the one thing that causes her to stand out from her sister is that she is not motivated by anything other than being herself. She is who she is, and she will not compromise that, even if it means she will lose a shot at her grandmother’s tiara. After all, her sister is overly helpful, and she seems to always beat Tess at volunteering for everything.

So what happens when Tess takes out the boat to explore the waters only discover a possible terrorist plot that is designed to steal her grandmother’s tiara? A misunderstanding. This is where the novel’s message lies – to not jump to conclusions without knowing facts; to open one’s heart and one’s mind to find the truth; to not allow irrational fears to overtake reason.

The chapters of the novel were short, and they helped set the pacing of the novel. While the pacing itself was quite fast, the development of the message was not. The message of the novel is quite clear, but it does not become the center of the story until toward the end. This is a mistake because it causes this part of the novel to feel disjointed from the rest. Since I am an older reader, this might be something I notice more than a younger reader, who will be caught up in who will win the tiara and who/what is the faceless creature Tess keeps seeing.

Ultimately, this novel will appeal to female tween readers because it is an adorable tale of acceptance and being true to one’s self. And let us not forget the alliterated title, which will have many tweens picking it up off the shelf.

1 comment:

  1. Hi!
    I just came across your site and it is really lovely! I happily followed you and will enjoy reading your updates. You can find me over at Rainy Day Reads, It would be great if you could stop by and I would love to have a fellow book lover as a new follower.
    Christine x
    Rainy Day Reads


I would love to hear from you