Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My own personal stumpers

Today I solved a stumper that's been bothering me for a long time. It was a book that I loved when I was about 10 years old. The main character of the book is a 12-year-old girl whose father is dying of a heart condition. He's diagnosed, the family gets one last fantastic Christmas with him, and then he dies and the girl feels guilty every time she starts having fun. I knew that I read it sometime in the early to mid-90s and that it was written by a well-known author (but the book wasn't relatively well-known).

The book? With You and Without You by Ann M. Martin.

I found it today on NoveList.

I also found the names of a couple of books I read about the same time about a group of girls that form a club for blondes only. The series is called Not For Blondes Only and sadly it looks like there were only two books written: Five's a Crowd and Show Time! The series was written by Betsy Lifton and Karen Lifton.

I found that one today on WorldCat.

I've only got one stumper left and it's a doozy. I remember reading it around the same time, probably early to mid-90s. It was about a family with a big group of sisters (four or five). I believe they were Jewish and that the youngest sister's name was Magda. One of the middle sisters wants to be a writer and she sends away for this writing course because it has a money-back guarantee. She plans to copy down the course and mail it back before the two weeks are up so that she doesn't have to pay for it. But she forgets or isn't able to copy the whole thing down and ends up having to pay for it, which is hard because the family doesn't have much money. I also remember a scene where the sisters take their youngest sister to school and she wets her pants or something. This is NOT any of the All-of-a-Kind Family books by Sidney Taylor. I looked at all of those today at work. Nope. Not it.

Maybe someday I'll find the answer to that stumper... As it is, I am happy to report that my library owns a copy of With You and Without You and it's circ'ed recently (and not even by me!), so hopefully it will stick around. Although I might have to scour used bookstores and see if I can track down a copy of my own.