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Cover for Effie Starr Zook Has One More Question

Effie Starr Zook Has One More Question

Martha Freeman


List Price: 16.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (3/6/2018)


“An excellent addition to middle grade collections.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

After being shipped off to stay with her aunt and uncle in Nowheresville, Pennsylvania, city girl Effie Starr Zook stumbles upon a mystery that leads her to an old family feud in this “accessible and exciting” (School Library Journal, starred review).

A rich girl from New York City, Effie Starr Zook isn’t afraid of much. When her parents go on a dangerous round-the-world adventure in a solar airplane, she’s packed off to her aunt and uncle’s farm for the summer. Expecting boredom, she runs smack dab into a family secret. Why does the neighbor kid want to avoid her? What are her aunt and uncle so worried about? And what does “bad blood” mean, anyway?

Effie’s got a brand-new bicycle, time on her hands, and an unlimited capacity for asking questions. With these, she sets out to uncover whatever it is the grownups are hiding. Along the way, she’ll contend with crackpot politics, serve coffee in a bookstore café, and learn more than she bargained for about her famous great-grandfather, the inventor of the barf bag. Fast-paced and funny, this is a story about having the courage to find out who you really are. Look out, world—when Effie Starr Zook has questions, she won’t take no for an answer!

Praise For Effie Starr Zook Has One More Question

What begins as a relaxing summer finds middle schooler Effie discovering proverbial skeletons in her family's closet, er…shed. While Effie's parents are flying the first solar plane around the world, the white girl is spending her summer on the Zook family farm with her aunt and uncle. Effie's great-grandfather was the original owner of this farm and (fictional) inventor of the barf bag, so now the family is "well fixed." When she meets two neighbor kids, both also white, she gets an inkling that some folks in this rural area are not fans of her family. The kids' father, Mr. Yoder, is leader of a growing movement called Beards for America based on Effie's great-grandfather's "Precepts" (No. 1: "A man's beard is a signifier of his special place in the natural order of things"), and yet the two families aren't on speaking terms. Despite her many queries—and Effie is excellent at asking questions—the grown-ups are close-lipped about the tension between the families. After befriending the town's only black resident, Effie reconstructs the murky history of her relatives. On the surface this feels a light, sun-dappled read, but within the depths of this story lurks compelling truths about sexism and racism that give shadow, dimension, and heft to this perky yarn. Effie's growing awareness of her privilege and its origins is an appropriately complicated one. A light-feeling read that effectively delves dark depths. (author's note) (Fiction. 8-13)
— Kirkus Reviews

With skilled writing and a consistently paced plot, this is an accessible and exciting story for a wide range of readers. The mystery is enticing, but the larger focus is on the interconnectedness of people despite differences and the importance of the pursuit of truth. Freeman tackles issues of class, gender, race, and politics in a way that is appropriate for the intended audience and never feels heavy-handed. This stellar blend of an appealing plot and relevant themes is an excellent addition to middle grade collections.
— School Library Journal *STARRED REVIEW*

Effie is a sprightly heroine whose surprising summer makes for fun reading.

— Booklist

Effie is a charming and charismatic character with few faults and a great sense of adventure that makes her endearing. Her story rings true.
— School Library Connection

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 9781481472647, 224pp.

Publication Date: March 7, 2017

About the Author

Martha Freeman worked as a reporter and teacher before becoming a full-time writer of books for young readers, including the Edgar Award­–nominated Zap!Born Curious, The Secret Cookie Club series, Who Stole Halloween?, and Effie Starr Zook Has One More Question, which School Library Journal called “accessible and exciting” in a starred review. She also collaborated with NASA astronaut Mark Kelly on the Astrotwins books. Martha lives in Colorado. Learn more at