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Crowley, Suzanne. The very ordered existence of Merilee Marvelous.

CROWLEY, Suzanne. The very ordered existence of Merilee Marvelous. HarperCollins, Greenwillow. 460p. c2007. 978-0-06-123197-1. $16.99. J *

An amazing book, especially since it is Crowley's first book. The main character has Asperger's syndrome, and I feel safer in the knowledge that Crowley's own daughter has "a unique view of the world"; it is clear that she treats such a child with great love and respect.

Merilee lives in a small town in west Texas named Jumbo. This place is filled with characters, and I do mean characters. One after the other colorful, outrageous, funny, loveable--there isn't a dud among them. Crowley gets everything possible out of this place with spot-on dialogue and memorable images that come one after the other. Merilee is brilliant, she reads all the time and draws dragons in her notebook, but she needs her "very ordered existence," e.g., a rigid schedule, and she doesn't talk much and doesn't let anyone get close to her...except maybe her mama. This changes when a poet and his young son come into town, and the little boy, Bis, follows Merilee around and becomes a part of her family's life, because his father is a neglectful parent and alcoholic. It's a lengthy story, hut so many scenes are heart stopping, it doesn't seem to be long. I predict this book will be treated seriously as one of the finest works in children's literature to be published this year. Claire Rosser, KLIATT

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.

*--The asterisk highlights exceptional books.
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Copyright 2007, Gale Group. All rights reserved.

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Author:Rosser, Claire
Date:Sep 1, 2007
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