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Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen
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Whistling in the Dark

by Lesley Kagen

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6883413,845 (3.86)33
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    Die hellen Tage by Zsuzsa Bánk (cometahalley)
    cometahalley: L'infanzia, i sogni. il candore e l'innocenza.
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Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
One of my favorite books. I loved the girl in the book. Her voice was so genuine for her age. It was everything I hope for in a book. I think of this book often even though I read it years ago. Highly recommended. ( )
  lacey.tucker | Mar 10, 2016 |
Whistling in the Dark is mainly appealing for the amazing first person narrative. The story is told by Sally, a girl who is often confused by her own imagination. Her character is naive, which I not only found endearing, but realistic for the time. Children were just not privy to the facts of life and slang as they are now... which brings me to her sister, Troo. Troo was not a believable character. Although the sisters spend a lot of time running the streets with a variety of characters, it is still not plausible that Troo would have the knowledge that she did.
I found the struggles of Sally and her sister, Troo, to be heartbreaking at times, but it seemed less authentic with the overwhelming amount of things that were against not only these sisters, but the community, and was surprised that the pacing was slow at times with all that the author had to work with.
Admittedly, I read the book in a day, so I have to wonder if this book wouldn't have been better served as a buddy read that was spread out over time. I think that the pacing may of been less noticeable, and therefore, less of an annoyance.
As far as the ending goes, it was largely predictable, but was still quite beautiful. ( )
  StephLaymon | Feb 3, 2016 |
3.5 Stars. Kagen is able to put you into the 1950s and writes with a convincing 10-year-old girl's voice. But the "suspense" part of the novel is not quite up to par. I liked this book and think it's an enjoyable read, but it's not on the top of my recommendation list. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 3, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this book. I felt like I was there...could feel the air and the tension of that summer. I didn't know who did what until I was *meant* to know. I liked the not knowing. Made for a good read. ( )
  ER1116 | Jan 13, 2016 |
Whistling in the Dark is the story of sisters Sally and Troo O'Malley and the revelatory summer that changes their lives forever. Sally is ten years old in 1959, recently moved to Milwaukee with her mom and no-good stepfather after the death of her father in a car accident that left her uncle severely brain-damaged. During the summer of '59, she and her younger sister's lives are thrown into turmoil when her mother reports to the hospital for gallbladder surgery that ends in a staph infection that keeps her hospitalized, in fear for her life, for much of the summer. With their mother hospitalized, their stepfather on a more or less permanent drunken bender, and their older sister too occupied with her boyfriend and beauty school to care, Troo and Sally are free to run wild in their Vliet Street neighborhood. To add to the perils of the summer, a murderer and molester is still at large, one who has already killed two girls. Sally, known for her overactive imagination, is sure she knows who the killer is and she's also sure of one other thing - he's coming for her next.

Even though it sounds like one of those books that is an unrelenting downer, there is so much to love about Whistling in the Dark. First, there's Sally, whose precocious, over-imaginative narration staves off the darkness that threatens to overtake the book. Sally's strong in a way she doesn't realize yet, and her narration, carefully pitched between her laughable imaginings and the true seriousness of the situation, is really what makes this book live and breathe. Then there's Troo, Sally's little sister, who seems both younger and older than her years, a tonic to Sally's overactive imagination, fiercely competitive, and an engine behind the clever ideas that make the pair's summer go. Finally, there's the pair's Vliet Street Milwaukee neighborhood in summer, a place that Kagen brings to life with an abundance of entirely three-dimensional supporting characters as well as the endless days on the playground, staying up late, and competing in sack races and bike-decorating contests at the community's Fourth of July block party that make a kid's summer days glow in memory.

Whistling in the Dark is a book that defies categorization or generalization. Looking at it from one direction, it's a thriller. There's a murderer at large lurking in an otherwise picturesque neighborhood, and Sally's overactive imagination constantly working to conjure up who it might be gives the book an urgency. It's not just a thriller, though, it's a story about sisterhood, one about strength, trust, and loyalty. It's a book that provokes nostalgia with its characters that become the stuff of hometown legends. Most of all, though, it's a coming-of-age story for Sally who learns that sometimes clinging to that childhood "overactive" imagination can be a saving grace to us all. ( )
  yourotherleft | Sep 1, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451221230, Paperback)

It was the summer on Vliet Street when we all started locking our doors...

Sally O'Malley made a promise to her daddy before he died. She swore she'd look after her sister, Troo. Keep her safe. But like her Granny always said-actions speak louder than words. Now, during the summer of 1959, the girls' mother is hospitalized, their stepfather has abandoned them for a six pack, and their big sister, Nell, is too busy making out with her boyfriend to notice that Sally and Troo are on the Loose. And so is a murderer and molester.

Highly imaginative Sally is pretty sure of two things. Who the killer is. And that she's next on his list. Now she has no choice but to protect herself and Troo as best she can, relying on her own courage and the kindness of her neighbors.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:13 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

During the summer of 1959, ten-year-old Sally O'Malley fears that a child predator, who has already murdered two girls, will target her or her little sister, Troo, next. Sally's mom is in the hospital, while her big sister, Nell, is distracted by love and her stepdad, Hall, by the bottle.… (more)

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