London, Nosy Crow, 2013, 268p
The reason I include an image of the cover of each book I read on this blog is partly so you know what you are looking for when you are shopping or browsing the library shelves, but also because some covers are artistic masterpieces.
Scarlett's story begins when a stranger delivers a package to her front door, just a week after her eleventh birthday. It is from her father, now deceased, once a thief. Enclosed are some tools of his trade, and Scarlett is not sure what she is meant to do. She toys with the idea of being a criminal like her father, but finds herself wracked with guilt. When she finds out her father may not have been as bad as she thought, she tries to use the tools for good, but still seems to end up in a penguin orientated pickle.
Dear Scarlett is a heart-warming, funny, uplifting story, and has made me re-think my order of favourites on the Bookbuzz list. Scarlett is a likeable, honest character who takes the reader on a fascinating adventure involving nasty school teachers, code breaking and comic baddies.
It is written in a simple yet inviting manner, hooking you from the first page with intrigue about this peculiar package, enticing you with clues and red herrings, and inviting you on a journey. The narrative is friendly, with short, bite-size chapters, which is always a form I appreciate. You have the option to take regular breaks, but you hardly want to since the story is so brilliant!
And on top of all that, it looks great. Having read the story, I am still a little confused about how the cover relates (mainly the cat), but I love that images run throughout the text and there is attention to detail on every page.
You can tell Dear Scarlett has been put together with care, from the initial concept of the captivating protagonist through to the formation of the book in physical form. And that care is what I love.