Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
A Newbery Honor Book
"An irresistible Southern narrator--a literary descendant of Scout Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird ." -- Newsday
Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone's business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she's been making waves ever since. Although Mo hopes someday to find her "upstream mother," she's found a home with the Colonel--a café owner with a forgotten past of his own--and Miss Lana, the fabulous café hostess. She will protect those she loves with every bit of her strong will and tough attitude. So when a lawman comes to town asking about a murder, Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, set out to uncover the truth in hopes of saving the only family Mo has ever known.
Look for all the Mo & Dale Mysteries: The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing , The Odds of Getting Even , and The Law of Finders Keepers
* "A wickedly awesome tale...Mo LoBeau is destined to become a standout character in children's fiction."-- Kirkus Reviews , starred review
* "Turnage's lively novel features a distinctive voice and a community of idiosyncratic characters."-- Booklist , starred review
* "Here is a writer who has never met a metaphor or simile she couldn't put to good use."-- Publishers Weekly , starred review
First published in hardcover in the United States of America by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 2012.
Washed ashore as a baby in tiny Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, Mo LoBeau, now eleven, and her best friend Dale turn detective when the amnesiac Colonel, owner of a café and co-parent of Mo with his cook, Miss Lana, seems implicated in a murder.
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Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
Eleven years ago, Mo LoBeau arrived in Tupelo Landing, N.C., a newborn baby girl washed downstream during a hurricane and rescued by "the Colonel," a stranger who can't remember anything about his own past. Both are taken in by Miss Lana, owner of the Tupelo Cafe. Mo (short for Moses) loves the Colonel and Lana, but she can't curb her curiosity: isn't anybody missing a lucky newborn? Mo scratches this itch by sending messages in bottles to her "Upstream Mother." Into this implausible but hilarious premise arrives an out-of-town detective, a dead body (cafe customer Mr. Jesse), a long-forgotten bank robbery, and a kidnapping. This much plot might sink a story, but Turnage makes it work. Here is a writer who has never met a metaphor or simile she couldn't put to good use. Miss Lana's voice is "the color of sunlight in maple syrup," while "[r]umors swirl around the Colonel like ink around an octopus." But it's Mo's wry humor that makes this first novel completely memorable. "Boredom kills," she suggests as Mr. Jesse's cause of death. "I've had close brushes myself, during math." Ages 10-up. Agent: Melissa Jeglinski, the Knight Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
Gr 5-7-Moses was rescued as a newborn during a hurricane in North Carolina by Colonel LoBeau and has lived with him and Miss Lana ever since. Mo is now 12-years-old and continues to look for her birthmother by sending letters in a bottle to be launched by anyone heading upstream. During her quest, she also sharpens her detective skills with her best friend, Dale Earnhart Johnson III, by finding missing cats and bicycles. When Detective Joe Starr comes to Tupelo Landing seeking information about a Winston-Salem murder, Mo's intuition helps to solve that and several other mysteries, many of them in her own life. Narrator Michal Friedman does for this story what the narrators of Moon over Manifest did for the Great Plains. The sounds of the racetrack where Dale's older brother races and the smells in Miss Lana's cafe come alive via Friedman's storytelling. Sheila Turnage's words and phrases in the novel (Delacorte, 2012) give the narrator a lot to work with, and she does justice to every one of them. From the Colonel's gruff manner to Dale's daddy's drunken slur and Miss Lana's calming tone, each character is consummately voiced. Listeners will hope that there will be more books about Mo. Of special note: every chapter begins a new track, making it easy for interrupted listeners to find their place.-Ann Brownson, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Mysteries abound in this unusual book set in tiny Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, and narrated by Mo, or as she introduces herself, Miss Moses LoBeau, rising sixth-grader. First there are old mysteries. What was Mo's story before Colonel LoBeau rescued her from the creek as a newborn and took her in? And who was the colonel before amnesia wiped away his memory? But soon the plot thickens and more alarming questions arise. Who has murdered one of Tupelo Landing's most unlikable residents? Who is holding Mo's unofficially adoptive parents for ransom? How can she and her friend Dale rescue them? While the pace of the narrative is initially languid, the storytelling is always enjoyable, from the amusing early scene in which Mo and Dale make breakfast for the regulars at the cafe (peanut butter sandwiches with or without the drink du jour, Mountain Dew) to her continuing attempts to find her birth mother through messages launched in bottles. Later the pace quickens considerably as the mystery gains momentum, climaxing in an epic scene during a hurricane. Turnage's lively novel features a distinctive voice and a community of idiosyncratic characters whose interlocking stories are gradually revealed. A sequel is planned for 2013.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist
Horn Book Review
All too often, books set in the rural South feature quirky characters who grow like kudzu and completely strangle the plot. Here, Turnage comes close to letting that happen but never steps over the literary vine; her strong story emerges through, rather than around, the individuals who reside in Tupelo Landing, North Carolina. The town's center is a caf owned by the Colonel, an amnesiac who rescued and informally adopted Moses (a.k.a. Mo) LoBeau, who washed up during a hurricane when she was just a baby. The Colonel knows three things: he loves Mo, hates lawyers, and can run a caf. Completing their unconventional family is Miss Lana, the caf's hostess, who effortlessly changes the menu and theme (from Parisian to Hollywood) at will. And then a stranger comes to town. Mo knows what that means: "Trouble had come to Tupelo Landing for good." Turnage takes her time with the plot, dropping hints, such as a death and a strange inheritance, that indicate something big is about to happen. The end result is a dandy mystery that reaches back into the Colonel and Miss Lana's past and involves the entire community, including Mo's best friend, Dale; his dreamy brother, Lavender; and the Azalea Women (a.k.a. the Uptown Garden Club). Humor sweetens the mix, making Tupelo Landing a pleasant place to stay for a spell. betty carter (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
What do you get when you combine Because of Winn-Dixie's heart with the mystery and action of Holes? You get an engaging, spirit-lifting and unforgettable debut for young readers. Turnage introduces readers to the homey yet exotic world of Tupelo Landing, N.C., well-populated with one-of-a-kind characters. A stranger with justice on his mind has just arrived in town, and Hurricane Amy is on its way. Rising sixth-grader Mo LoBeau leads the cast through a series of clues as the whole town tries to figure out who among them might be a murderer. The novel's opening lines reveal the unflappable Mo LoBeau as a latter-day Philip Marlowe: "Trouble cruised into Tupelo Landing at exactly seven minutes past noon on Wednesday, the third of June, flashing a gold badge and driving a Chevy Impala the color of dirt." This is the first of many genius turns of phrases. Pairing the heartbreaking sadness of children who don't get their fair share from parents with the hilarity of small-town life, Turnage achieves a wickedly awesome tale of an 11-year-old girl with more spirit and gumption than folks twice her age. Mo LoBeau is destined to become a standout character in children's fiction. Readers may find they never want to leave Tupelo Landing. (Mystery. 10-14)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.