Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Elvis and Olive
It's the beginning of summer vacation and Natalie Wallis is already bored. She decides to give herself an assignment to pass the time. Her task is to clock how fast that she can ride around her block. It doesn't hurt that riding around the block means passing Steven Redding's house. Natalie thinks that Steven is the cutest, sweetest boy in the whole school and she has been secretly in love with him for three years now. But it's not Steven who Natalie runs into.
Instead, there is a small, skinny boy standing in Natalie's path. "I'm gonna tell you a secret," the boy says.
Well, Natalie comes to find out that this boy isn't a boy after all, but a girl named Annie. Annie has lots of secrets, and she wants to find out more. Annie and Natalie (code names Elvis and Olive) start their secret club that day. Their task is to find out the secrets of all of the people in their neighbourhood. Natalie assures Annie that the block is boring, but Annie knows that the most seemingly normal folks, tend to have a secret or two ripe for spying.
Natalie likes being around Annie even though she knows that Annie is a liar. Annie is not like the other girls in her private school. She is brave and a little dangerous too. Before too long it becomes apparent that some things are secret for a reason, and that while spying is fun, being spied on is not.
Stephanie Watson has written a gem of a story about friendship, truth, family and trust. Annie is a character who is flawed all over the place, yet likable just the same. Readers get to watch Natalie become braver, which is always a fun thing to do! This is the kind of story, however, that gives me the after-school special feeling in my stomach...you know when you see something bad coming, and you are yelling at the character on the television not to do what you know they are going to do? Watson really does have you wanting it all to be okay.