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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Winner of the 2001 Newbery Honor Medal! It was within the pages of Richard Peck's Newbery Honor-winning A Long Way from Chicago that Mary Alice and Grandma Dowdel first made their captivating debut. Now they're back for more astonishing, laugh-out-loud adventures when fifteen-year-old Mary Alice moves in with her spicy grandmother for the year. Expect moonlit schemes, romances both foiled and fou…

A Year Down Yonder

by Richard Peck

Overall Book Review:

I enjoyed this book even more than its predecessor (A Long Way From Chicago)! In A Year Down Yonder, Richard Peck has brought back larger-than-life Grandma Dowdel for a whole year’s worth of new adventures. This book was laugh-out-loud funny, hilariously madcap, and unexpectedly sweet. I found myself growing to love both Grandma Dowdel and Mary Alice more than ever, and I was genuinely sad when the book ended. Although this book does reference and build on some events from A Long Way From Chicago, it would still work great as a stand-alone for those who haven’t read the prequel. A Year Down Yonder is highly recommended for anyone—child or adult—who enjoys historical fiction, great characters, a dash of romance, and hilarious storylines.

Though I should warn you—don’t try to eat or drink while reading this book… the stories are funny enough that it could prove dangerous!

Content Analysis:



Violence/Gore: A tornado destroys property (no casualties).

Sex/Nudity: Characters flirt; a boy puts his arm around a girl’s shoulders. A very subtle reference is made to a teenage pregnancy. An artist attempts to paint a woman in the nude (no description is given, and the scene is hilariously funny).

Mature Subject Matter:

Financial troubles.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

A character spikes the punch at a party (comprised of adults).

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

As a kid, I used to tell people that I wanted to be a “professional book reviewer” when I grew up (along with writer/ballerina/figure skater/mom). I thought that any profession that involved the full-time reading of books was my idea of heaven. Getting the chance to review books is a little dream come true!