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The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadourby Michael D. Beil
Synopses & Reviews
For as far back as I can remember, I have told everyone I know that I am going to be a writer. And it's not just some idle dream. I have been a busy girl, and my hard drive is bulging with the results of this ambition: a heaping assortment of almost-but-not-quite-finished short stories and at least three this-time-I'm-really-off-to-a-great-start-and-I-mean-it novels. Unfortunately, every single thing I have written--until now, that is--is fatally flawed. Write what you know everyone told stubborn little me. Very good advice--that I completely ignored. Instead, I wrote and wrote, filling my stories to the brim with people and places I have spent my life reading about instead of the people and places that are my life. But all that changed the moment I looked out the window in Mr. Eliot's English class and screamed. Suddenly I had my very own story.
My tale begins in September, my first month in the upper school at St. Veronica's, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I know, I know--it sounds snobby, like one of those schools in the movies or TV, but trust me, it's not. Believe me, I'm not rich, and my friends aren't either. St. V's is just a nice, ordinary all-girls' school that just happens to be in a pretty expensive neighborhood. Yes, we wear plaid skirts with our lovely red blazers, and yes, there are a few nuns running around the place, but there are no limos parked outside or helicopters on the roof or anything like that.
We are just starting Great Expectations in Mr. Eliot's English class, taking turns reading aloud from the first chapter. So Leigh Ann Jaimes is reading. Someday, Leigh Ann, a very passionate reader, will win an Academy Award. When she reads, it's like one of those fabulous, a-star-is-born auditions for a Broadway play. Great Expectations, the greatest novel ever written per our Mr. Eliot, starts off with this spooky scene: as a cold early-evening fog hangs over a churchyard cemetery, the poor little orphan Pip is wandering near his parents' headstone. As Leigh Ann pours her heart into every word, I'm picturing the mist hanging over the graves, worn smooth by the passage of time. I feel the chilly, clammy air, hear the trees creaking and swaying in the wind, andso there I am, perched on the edge of my seat, when Leigh Ann reads: 'Hold your noise ' cried a terrible voice, as a man started up from among the graves at the side of the church porch. 'Keep still, you little devil, or I'll cut your throat '
I gasp. Loudly.
Leigh Ann, along with everyone else in the room, spins around to look at me.
Everything all right, Miss St. Pierre? Mr. Eliot asks, peering over his glasses and trying to hold back a smile. Mr. Eliot is one of those teachers who is basically cool, but still a total geek--always making really corny jokes that only he gets. His first name is George, which explains a lot. Get it? George Eliot, like the novelist? Except that that George Eliot was really a woman named Mary Ann Evans. Oy.
I blush--just a little. I'm fine. Thanks for asking though. Always keep 'em guessing--that's what I say.
He nods to Leigh Ann to continue.
Across the room, my best friend Margaret Wrobel has this huge smile on her face. She mouths the words deep breaths at me, which is what she always tells me when I get too excited, or t
Three friends find themselves on a spooky scavenger hunt, in this literary debut for those who love mystery, math, and a modest measure of mayhem.
Catholic-schooled seventh-graders Sophie, Margaret, Rebecca, and Leigh Ann help an elderly neighbor solve a puzzle her father left for her estranged daughter twenty years ago.
About the Author
Michael D. Beil, an English teacher in a New York City high school, made his literary debut with this fun and brainy mystery. Its sequel, The Vanishing Violin, is also available from Knopf, and the third Red Blazer Girls novel is in the works.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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