My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Andi has recently lost her busy and vital scientist parents. She and her older sister Bethany suddenly find themselves living with their eccentric aunt after some time spent with a well-meaning neighbor who stifles them both. Andi is glad to be living with comfortable Aunt Amelie, who’s always been a favorite relative. Of course Andi misses Mom and Dad; she’s quietly hurting inside. She’s pretty sure that Bethany was always their favorite; she had so wanted to impress both of them with her own deep love of science. She had so wanted to be just like them. But they never had time for her, and Bethany’s art was just so – noticeable.
Andi almost immediately finds a new friend in the neighbor boy Colin, and finds, too, a mystery, about another Andora with the same name as hers. Because that is her real name: Andora Boggs. Andi is confused; why won’t anyone talk about that other Andora, except mean Dr. Girard, who is in such a hurry to put her in a book?
Andi begins to dig into the history of her family and finds some surprises which could put her in real danger. One could wish that through that danger, Andi weren’t quite so impulsive, and yet her drive to know the answers to her questions gives her a real place in the world, and the reader can clearly see that.
I really enjoyed the straightforwardness of the story in its telling, exploring family and relationships, as well as grief – it’s accessible to a wide range of students. Yet the mystery is baffling enough, and the reader is kept guessing until almost the very end, which makes for a very satisfying read. I look forward to sharing Andi and her adventures with my middle grade students who crave a good mystery.
You can help authors and independent bookstores thrive by shopping at your local Indie bookstore: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780310737018