Monday, May 12, 2014

"The Secrets of Tree Taylor"

Dandi Daley Mackall has written many books for children and adults. She has held a humorist column and served as freelance editor, has hosted over 200 radio phone-in programs, and has made dozens of appearances on TV. She conducts writing assemblies and workshops across the U.S. and keynotes at conferences and young author events. Her YA novel The Silence of Murder won an Edgar Award.

Mackall applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Secrets of Tree Taylor, and reported the following:
From page 69:

Chuck mimicked putting a gun to his head and firing. “So, Tree, what’s your dad say about Old Man Kinney trying to kill himself?”

I didn’t answer.

“I thought it was an accident.” Somehow, Karen had ended up next to Jack again.

“Maybe . . . maybe not.” Chuck walked backward up the street a couple of feet. “Let’s see for ourselves!”

I didn’t want to agree with Chuck, but I liked the idea of checking out the house. Maybe we’d find a clue.

“So, what’s the plan, Chuck?” Jack asked. “You going to waltz up to the door and ask Mrs. Kinney if you can search her house?”

“I’m not going to ask her anything. I’ll see what I can see.” Chuck turned to Penny and me. “Who’s in?”
Tree Taylor has two goals for the summer of ’63: 1) Become a writer, or at least, write something that will earn her the freshman spot on the school paper; and 2) Experience her first real kiss. A kiss delivered by a boy. A boy who is not related to her.

So when a gunshot is fired right down the street, Tree knows this is the big story she’s been waiting for. But the more she goes digging, the more secrets she uncovers. And soon she begins to wonder: When is it important to expose the truth? And when is it right to keep a secret? Her summer, and this book, are filled with rock ‘n’ roll, hanging out at the swimming pool…and secrets. Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and the soundtrack of the Beach Boys and the Beatles, it’s a story of family, unexpected friendships, dancing under the summer stars, and the power—and weight—of carrying someone else’s secrets.

Page 69 shows the two main characters—Tree and Jack, her lifelong, big-brother-type buddy. And we get a peek at Chuck, one of the story’s bad guys. I guess I was surprised that I think a reader might be able to pick up the “flavor” of the book with this one page. Cool!
Visit Dandi Daley Mackall's website.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Dandi Daley Mackall & Moxie and Munch.

--Marshal Zeringue