Sunday 23 September 2012

267. One Year In Coal Harbor by Polly Horvath

One Year In Coal Harbor by Polly Horvath
Published September 2012 Random House

From the publisher:
Readers rejoice--Primrose Squarp is back! The wise and curious heroine of the Newbery Honor Book Everything on a Waffle is facing another adventure-filled year in Coal Harbor. Even though her parents, once lost at sea, are home, there's a whole slew of problems and mysteries to keep Primrose--and eager fans--busy. There's Uncle Jack and Kate Bowzer, who may (or may not) be in love. There's Ked, a foster child who becomes Primrose's friend. And there's the new development on the outskirts of town that threatens the Coal Harbor Primrose knows and treasures. 

This is the companion novel to Everything on a Waffle, which I read many many years ago.  I loved the first book, however I couldn’t really remember the specifics of the story, only the general plot and feel of the book.  The best thing about this new book is that you don’t have to have read Everything on a Waffle.  There are references to the year before when her parents were missing, presumed dead, by everyone in town, except for Primrose, but this books works well as a stand alone novel.

I think it has become clear over the year that I have a fondness for all things quirky.  And this book is ‘all things quirky’.  The book is set in the very small town of Coal Harbor and it’s inhabitants are the perfect people to write a story about because each person is interesting in their own right.  To me it feels a little bit like the TV show Northern Exposure, but for children, with a touch of The Gilmore Girls thrown in.  I love that the name of the Cafe in town is called The Girl on the Red Swing (where they serve EVERYTHING on a waffle), and I love that the locals start to call the hippy protesters the Vegetarian War Orphans (because that's what they look like, and they don't eat meat!)

Primrose loves to cook, and food is something of a theme in this book, so much so that there is a recipe at the end of each chapter.  Whatever food, meal or recipe is mentioned in the chapter is detailed at the end.  Nearly all of the recipes included mini marshmallows, a favourite of one particular character,  including the salads. I decided to make one of the recipes, and decided on the simple, but delicious, Cinnamon Toast (see pic), I highly recommend it for a weekend breakfast treat!

As well as the cooking, Primrose spends a lot of her time matchmaking (not very successfully), dog walking, bike riding and she also becomes involved in a campaign to stop the clearing of a local forest.  My heart goes out to Primrose, because she is really quite a solitary character, her main friendships are with adults, and when she finally finds someone who understands her and she can be herself with, he suddenly leaves....She is funny, inquisitive, and just an all round great character, if you like things slightly left of centre, I highly recommend this one.

Who will like this book: Girls age 9+
Read it if you like: all things quirly

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