The Big Shuffle
By Laura Pedersen
(Ballantine Books, Paperback, 9780345479563, 400pp.)
Publication Date: October 31, 2006
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“We’re approaching Cat in the Hat level chaos and no one’s even had breakfast yet.”
When the death of her father leaves her mother bereft and incapacitated, card shark Hallie Palmer returns home from college to raise Hallie’s eight younger siblings. Hallie’s older brother has a scholarship and a sensible major–which translates to free tuition and desperately needed future income for the family. So it’s up to Hallie to deal herself in as head of the chaotic household.
But even after the invasion of those well-meaning, casserole-carrying purveyors of comfort the local church ladies, Hallie’s in a downward spiral. Thank goodness for old friends like Bernard and Gil, now proud parents, who keep Hallie afloat with good humor, brilliant organizational skills, and Judy Garland’s most quotable quotes–not that life is entirely peaceful now that Bernard’s wise, willful, and delightfully outrageous mother, Olivia, is back from Europe with a big (and shockingly young) surprise.
Through it all, Hallie discovers that life can indeed turn on a dime, and that every coin has two sides plus an edge. Just because beginner’s luck doesn’t always last forever doesn’t mean you’re out of the game.
“Laura Pedersen’s lively imagination has created a cast of zany characters and an unforgettable heroine.”
–Bev Marshall, author of Hot Fudge Sundae Blues, on Heart’s Desire