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Dear America: Behind the Masks

Dear America: Behind the Masks, The Diary of Angeline Reddy, Bodie, California, 1880 is a middlegrade historical fiction novel by Susan Patron.

Angeline Reddy has been living the authentic Wild West life. Her father being a renowned criminal lawyer in the highly criminal town of Bodie proves to be never dull, and often dangerous.

So, when Angie’s father is declared murdered – she knows deep in her heart that it isn’t true. She feels it’s up to her to figure out what is really going on.

But with her mother ill and the gang of vigilantes called the 601 trying to take control of the town, it’s more complicated than it seems in novels.

Yet with the help of new friends Ellie and Ling Loi, Angie believes she can solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance… and the shadowy apparition that seems to be a ghost that is showing up!

I read a lot of Dear America books when I was younger, and loved most of all of them. So, this was a bit of nostalgia for me.

Behind the Masks has an involving mystery with Angeline’s father and excellent details of the hard-working, difficult life experienced back then. I think it’s great for this generation to realize how easy they have it, and appreciate that. This gives them that opportunity.

The reading level is set for younger readers, but the lively, tough narrator of Angeline and the interesting history makes it entertaining still. Plus, there’s a touch of a ghost story, family drama, racism difficulties, and crime – making for a stuffed but clearly well-researched story.

Dear America: Behind the Masks is a smart, fun way of teaching the economics of an 1880 mining town to really any age. Who would’ve thought that was even possible?

And with the smile-worthy, cute end and awesome epilogue, Behind the Masks hits all the right notes for what is expected of the Dear America series.


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