290Q: YA historical novel about the Biblical matriarchs ca. 1980

The book was divided into several sections, most or all narrated in first person and each about one of the Biblical matriarchs: Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, etc. Along the lines of “The Red Tent” but young adult and published somewhere around 1980, give or take a couple of years. The author was female, and I think it was published in US (though possibly UK or other British Commonwealth, since I got it out of a Canadian library).

290L: The Girl With the Disappointing (Mustard-Colored) Walls

Thanks to the Sunday NY Times, I now know who to ask the question that has been nagging at me for years: what O what was the book for teens (they didn’t call them YA novels yet) that I read in the 1960s (might’ve been published then, but also could’ve been published in the late 1950s) in which a daydreamy teenage girl envisioned painting her room gold, then painted it, then was bitterly disappointed that the walls were in fact “mustard yellow.” I remember nothing else about the girl, the story (or the walls) but the book must have had some kind of profound effect on me, because I’m over 60 now, a novelist and an English professor, and have read many, many novels since–and I’ve never forgotten it.

290A: A young lady travels to Carmel-by-the-sea (Solved)

I’ve been looking for the following for years with no luck. YA novel from possibly 1980-1990’s about a young lady (18ish). I cannot remember the title or main heroine name but distinctly recall her traveling to Carmel-by-the-sea and the white wicker furniture that she decorated with. Possibly summer time or just after graduation. Seems she ended up going to work for a lady in interior design. And of course there was a boy…

Possibly part of the just for girls series or similar to that. 

289J: Spaceship disaster thriller (Solved)

[/private role="author"]Brandy Hartnett, bhartnett808@gmail.com[/private]

I read this in elementary school in the 90s. It’s more of a young adult book not a children’s book. There was a spaceship that people lived on and something happened, I think the ship got torn in half by an asteroid or a meteor or something like that. I think an asteroid/meteor field was coming their way, so everyone on the ship was supposed to evacuate to one side of the ship so they could seal off the middle in case of damage from the asteroid and a couple of kids or people got stuck on the side that everyone had evacuated from. They thought they were going to die but the side with all the people on it ended up being breached and everyone was exposed to space and died. So now the group of people or kids on the other side were alone. And all the controls for the ship had been on the side that got destroyed. So they try to figure out how to get rescued or land somewhere. I remember the end being very depressing. Their last hope of survival was to get their floating ruined spaceship close enough to the last planet that there were any people on, which I believe was Pluto, so that someone could essentially snag their spaceship. But they were too far away and the book ended with them floating off into space with the impression that they would starve to death. I always remember the book title having something to do with butterflies but I could be wrong. I remember the cover having a purple/ red magenta space swirl incorporated on it.

279G: Girl living in Purdah has arranged marriage (Solved)

A story about a teen or pre-teen girl from  who lives in purdah (in India, I believe) who is being prepared for marriage.  She gets pierced (ears and nose I think) and undergoes other ceremonies that are apparently traditional for a girl her age.  She belongs to a well-off family, and her father has been indulgent and somewhat spoiled her up to this point, but now a young man has been selected for her, and she is expected to assume adult responsibilities and accept this inevitable fate maturely.  I think an older female relative (aunt, or grandmother) attempts to soothe her anxieties by breaking tradition and allowing her to meet the young man–chaperoned, of course–before the ceremony.  I seem to recall the book is rather open-ended, leaving the reader with a slightly optimistic feeling that the main character may face a happy future with her prospective spouse, despite her reluctance for the whole thing.  I have a vague feeling that there were some tiger cubs were involved somehow in the story (maybe one of the outrageous gifts her father had given her?)  I can’t remember the title, but I think it had the word “Time” in it, and the girl’s name, which for some reason nags at me as having started with the letter “Y”.

278B: Girl returns to Malaysian rubber farm after the war (Solved)

I read this book in my early teens and have been trying find it for years. A father sends a young girl away from rubber farm during the war. Upon her return from England, she finds she is an outsider due to not suffering the same pains those that stayed suffered. Her childhood friend (a boy) helped the villagers/prisoners by going night fishing to help keep people fed. The story resolves her relationship with the boy and her father.

273C: Four Corners Young Adult Mystery

It’s a young adult mystery set in Four Corners area (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona).  A family moves to the Four Corner Area and the teen aged kids get involved with a museum.  The mystery involves oil and artifacts from the area.  The name of the book include the words “Black Gold,” but I’m not sure.  I read the paperback in the later 50s or early 60s.

272G: Orphaned teen keeps siblings together

Looking for the titile and author of a young adult fiction book, paperback, published late 1970s or early 1980s, approx. 200 pages.  The book’s title could be similar to “Keeping It All Together.”  The story likely was set in the 1970s to early 1980s, England/United Kingdom or another country using pounds instead of dollars.  I read it around 1983-85.

After a 17 year old girl’s parents die in a auto accident, she toils to keep her orphaned younger siblings together, counting the days until her 18th birthday when she can become their legal guardian.  The story chronicles her struggles to survive with scarce funds and keep her siblings, their school work, home and run-down car from falling apart – all while avoiding the government social services inspector, who threatens to split the siblings up into separate foster homes.

The orphans secretly take care of themselves, while keeping up the appearance that an adult relative is helping them.  Some of the children’s names might be Maggie or Jenny and one of the brothers may have gotten into trouble.  The run-down car they use might be an old van, and the teen girl may have a befriended a young man who assists with auto repairs.

It’s possible the book’s cover art has a soft pastels/watercolor illustration of the family with a light yellow van parked outside their house on a residential street in England or Ireland.

270A: Girl joins circus, performs blindfolded trapeze act

Girl has always loved hanging upside down, manages to join circus and be trained as a trapeze artist. Her trainer (and later love-interest & husband) catches her flying with her eyes closed and after much convincing, they turn it into a blind-folded act with silver dollars against her eyes and then covered by a blindfold. One mayor of a small town does not believe they are really blindfolded and arranges an accident. One of them is sent off course and the other must hurtle himself into her at an angle that will bring her into the net rather than a deadly impact.

In looking for this book I wondered if my adolescent self could have misunderstood the gender and relationship but MZB’s the Catch Trap doesn’t seem familiar enough.

The book was near Heinlein’s The Puppet Masters in my small middle school library so I believe the author’s name likely started with either an H or a nearby letter.