PENELOPE MARCH IS MELTING, by Jeffrey Michael Ruby, Delacorte Books for Young Readers, Nov. 14, 2017, Hardcover, $16.99 (age 9-12)
Imagine a place where it’s always cold, where everyone in the school takes part in a giant hockey match and turnips are the only food that grows. Imagine living on an iceberg with your icy-cold town sitting atop it.
Imagine if that iceberg began to melt.
Welcome to Glacier Cove where Penelope March lives with her father and brother, Miles. Once upon a time, Penelope’s mom disappeared, but no one seems too worried about it. In fact, a lot of weird things have been going on in Glacier Cove, but no one seems to care.
No one except Mr. Buzzardstock, the scary neighbor, and strange Coral Wanamaker who seems to suddenly pop up in unexpected places, and Penelope and Miles, of course. It’s up to this unusual group to save their town, and their iceberg, from the coldest, cruelest enemy ever known.
Penelope March is Melting is, for the most part, a fast-paced middle-grade mystery chock full of twists and turns.
Penelope is a girl after my own heart. She loves to read and can’t help but be curious about the world around her. It’s nice, too, to have a main character who may not have a lot of friends, still have a sense of purpose. And the relationships she does have are strong.
Unfortunately, Penelope March is Melting does slow down a little more than halfway in, and there are some darker themes — parental loss, some violence — that make this book suited for more mature middle readers. The action does pick up toward the end though, and there’s lots of humor that makes this book stronger than not.