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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

SoHo, 1981. Twelve-year-old Olympia is an artist--and in her neighborhood, that's normal. Her dad and his business partner Apollo bring antique paintings back to life, while her mother makes intricate sculptures in a corner of their loft, leaving Ollie to roam the streets of New York with her best friends Richard and Alex, drawing everything that catches her eye. Then everything falls apart. Ollie's dad disappears in the middle of the night, leaving her only a cryptic note and instructions to destroy it. Her mom has gone to bed, and she's not getting up. Apollo is hiding something, Alex is acting strange, and Richard has questions about the mysterious stranger he saw outside. And someone keeps calling, looking for a missing piece of art. . . . Olympia knows her dad is the key--but first, she has to find him, and time is running out.…

Overall Book Review:

All the Greys on Greene Street is middle grade historical fiction (and since when did the 1980’s become historical fiction?) set in New York.  There is no doubt that this is top-notch children’s literature with the emphasis on the “literature” part.  It also addresses an over-looked and neglected theme of how the mental illness of a parent affects the child or children in their life.  This is the type of book that the Newbery committee loves and that makes for great discussion material.

On the flip side, it is not the type of book that usually grabs a middle-schooler.  There is a lot of description of painting, art, and feelings and the pacing is restrained and measured until the very end.  This novel likely won’t have wide appeal to the masses, but it really is quite a lovely book with rich characterization, an important message, and a hopeful ending.

Review of an Advance Reading Copy received from the Publisher

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  4 religious exclamations.

Violence/Gore:  Character remembers when she was a kindergartener and teased a friend until he punched her; students are learning about Egypt so there are some references to mummification processes, rituals, etc. (brief); a girl hits a boy because she is angry; extended scene involving fire and resulting in injuries; reference to someone who is doing a starvation protest.

Sex/Nudity:  A character’s father has left with another woman and this is referred to several times; reference to “boobs” on a picture; a boy tells his friend that he thinks his dad is staying at a hotel and not coming home some nights (vague reference).

Mature Subject Matter:

Mental illness (clinical depression), separation/marital infidelity, ethics.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Adults drink wine and beer on various occasions; adults smoke.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!