334P: Unsuccessful Boy Struggles With Successful, But Strange, Sister

I have not read this book, but saw it in a list somewhere about 3 years ago, give or take. Family who has genius or academically successful children, except one boy or the boy is different, but I can’t remember in what sense, book might be about this boy and his struggles in the family. Synopsis I read mentioned a sister (of the boy) who is exceedingly successful in school but is strange. Sorry, that’s all. It could possibly be YA but not sure at all. Thanks all

334O: Orphans adopted by sadistic older couple (Solved!)

I read a YA series of (I believe 3 books) in the 1980's about 3 children who were orphaned and sent to live with an older couple off of the eastern US coast in a large mansion (perhaps Maine).  The children were regularly subjected to gaslighting and emotional abuse.  No adult believed them until the end of the very last book because the couple was so well regarded in the town.   There was a cliff near the house where the tide came in very quickly and that played into the books very frequently.

334K: Evolved Rats Vs Devolved Humans In Once Radioactive City

When I was young, 12 maybe, I checked a book out of the local library, reading it several times, which initiated a life long live of post apocalyptic fiction. In the book a young boy about my age lives with a tribe outside the ruins of a large city that might have been Chicago. The tribe is at the hunter gatherer level of technology. And his main weapon is a spear. The city itself is a blast zone/dead zone no one is allowed to go in because it is supposedly radioactive. I don’t remember why but he heads into the dead zone and discovers the radiation is no longer deadly. But living in the ruins are a race of evolved rat beasts that are six feet tall, stand on their hind legs, and are spear wielding. The rat beasts come after him and he has a series of near misses until he escapes the dead zone and is rescued in a big showdown between the human tribe and the rat tribe, being saved by the adults whose rules he defied. The book had large-ish print and excellent pen and ink drawings sprinkled throughout. I went back to the library that I got it from but the destroyed my old library card and no longer have the book. It would have been published in the 1950’s or first part of the 60’s. Any help finding it would be greatly appreciated.

 

333Z: Australian Teenager on the Road, Searching for Biological Mother

In the first half of 2002, I got most of the way through a self-contained YA mystery series. I think there were ten books in total, each about 100-120 pages, probably published recently. I was attending a Canadian high school at the time and discovered the series while volunteering at another school’s library. I read all but the last one (I suspect the school year ended before I had a chance to borrow that one). I’d like to know how the series concluded, but every attempt I’ve made at finding these books online has hit a dead end. I either find nothing, or I find an earlier online description of the series that I wrote in 2015.
The protagonist is a young woman from Australia (as I recall), about sixteen, named something like Blake or Blaine. The series has her name in the title along the lines of ‘The Blake Journals’ or ‘The Blaine Files’ or the like. The first volume opens with her leaving home in a carefully thought-out plan to run away. She disappears in the middle of the night, grabs her possessions, and takes to the road on some kind of motor scooter or moped. We eventually learn that her goal is to locate her biological mother, who vanished years ago. As I recall, there’s very little in terms of action-adventure: this is more about a quiet and painstaking solo quest.
The books’ cover images were nearly identical. They all had the series title in large yellow-and-black typography, staggered a bit for a vintage-typewriter look to convey mystery/edginess. If I had to guess, a publishing house cranked these out in a short period of time as a one-off, but clearly the series intrigued me enough that I read about 90% of it, and now I’m finding it tantalizing.

 

333F: Greenwich Village jazz father and son (Solved!)


Growing up in a small town in Eastern Washington in the early 1970’s, I read a book I still remember. It’s a middle school targeted chapter book with a few line drawing illustrations. My copy was paperback. It features a father and son, the dad is a jazz musician / fan, I think they live in the Village - or at least someplace downtown NYC. Maybe there is some music that is played on the rooftop? Maybe parents are divorced? Published pre-1974.

332V: Witch Balls & a Cursed Child’s Palm

I read this book at some point during late grade school/junior high, probably between 4th & 8th grade, so somewhere between 1980-86. It was a pre-teen horror of the old school, by which I mean it assumes kids can actually handle seriously creepy, potentially life-threatening stuff. It was an older library book that our awesome school librarian recommended to me. Maybe published in the 50's or 60's? Definitely before the late 70's, given the age of the library's copy & when I read it. Unfortunately, there's no cover art I can reference as it had a green cloth binding with no dust jacket.

I don't remember much of the plot but what I do remember is as follows: A junior-high aged girl goes to visit her grandmother for the summer in a small village. Grandma is a witch (good, natch). Another woman has moved into town & grandma suspects her to be a bad witch. Bad witch tries to start a witch war. I can't remember if it was for a specific reason or just because she was a bad witch & that's what bad witches do. Similar in feel to The House With a Clock In Its Walls series or the Green Knowe books but a smidge darker. I believe it was located somewhere in New England, but I wouldn't swear to it. I *think* there were cars & telephones but the time frame was kinda vague. Or my memory is. And that's all for the overall plot.

I do, however, remember some weird specifics. The grandma hung a witch ball over the front door to see if the new neighbor was evil. She had a bottle tree, too. There were lots of nifty little folkloric witchy things like that. The thing that sticks clearest in my mind is that grandma gets a letter with what appears to be child's hand print. Grandma recognizes it as the actual skin of a child's hand & proceeds to place the skin inside an old Bible, which she wraps up tightly so it can't be opened because said palm skin is a curse. That scene has stuck with me ever since I read it, as one might imagine. It's pretty unique. Other than that, I can remember exactly where it was located in my grade school library but that's probably not much help. (Second from last bookcase on the left, third shelf from the top, right side, below the Nancy Drew books.)

 

332T: Atlantean? Girl Next Door

I am trying to find the name of a book I read as a child. The plot is basically that the girl who lives next door to the protagonist is weird and can 'float for joy' - that is, levitate. She turns out to be a descendant of Atlantis or something similar - an elder race in decline now living discretely amongst humans. They cannot interbreed - at one point the Atlanteans are described analogously to horses and humans akin to donkeys. The result is something like a mule. I think it might have been hazardous for the humans and the others to touch? Painful?

Media - Single Book / Novel

Date of Publication - Pretty sure it was in either a children's section of a public library or a school library and it pre-dates 1995. Might even pre-date 1988.

Major Themes - Decline of a race / empire?

Characters - Two children, one human, one otherwise. However, I cannot remember if the protagonist was male or female.

Language - The book was in English and I read it in England.

Target Audience - Older children? Teens?