Customer Reviews for

Land of a Hundred Wonders

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Reviewed by Cat for TeensReadToo.com

Though she survived the wreckage that took her parents lives one rainy summer night, that near-fatal car accident left Gibby McGraw N(ot).Q(uite).R(ight).

While she spends her mornings working at Grandpa Charlie's Top o'the Morning Diner, her afternoons visiting the ...
Though she survived the wreckage that took her parents lives one rainy summer night, that near-fatal car accident left Gibby McGraw N(ot).Q(uite).R(ight).

While she spends her mornings working at Grandpa Charlie's Top o'the Morning Diner, her afternoons visiting the residents of Cray Ridge, Kentucky, running errands while Grandpa fishes, and gathering information to put in the stories she writes for Gibby's Gazette, Gibby also realizes everyone in town thinks she's diminished. Heck, even Sheriff LeRoy Johnson called her "dumber than anthracite" when he thought she was out of hearing range; but Gibby has a plan.

At the top of her list of VERY IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO is to prove she is Quite Right and can take care of herself so Mama can rest in peace and Charlie will get off her back and stop sending her to talk with Reverend Jack every time she says or does something "inappropriate."

And the perfect plan fell into her lap when she found Buster Malloy's murdered body, the man with plans to be the future state governor, washed up on the shores of Browntown. Now all Gibby need do is employ the skills learned from THE IMPORTANCE OF PERCEPTION IN METICULOUS INVESTIGATION by Howard Redmond of New York City, New York, to find Buster's killer and write the article for her paper.

What Gibby didn't count on was all hell breaking loose in the meantime.

I'm a huge fan of novels set in small towns; it's a prime opportunity for authors to utilize the family dynamic on a much larger scale and populate their world with plenty of quirky, compelling characters. Cray Ridge, Kentucky, is lousy with those folks, and I mean that in the best way possible.

Gibby's the protagonist and we experience the novel via her first-person narrative, but all the characters were spectacular. Lesley Kagen had me laughing at Gibby's inappropriate outbursts and downright embarrassing questions until my sides hurt, and she had me stemming the flow of tears at certain points throughout while demonstrating just how much Gibby had lost due to the brain damage.

There's so much more regarding friend and familial connections, secrets and betrayals, but I fear going further into detail will lead to spoilers. All I can say is the roots of the characters' relationships run deep and when that happens, there is a great deal of twisting and rot that must eventually be unraveled.

A second, but equally important aspect in this novel is its social context. Ms. Kagen set LAND OF A HUNDRED WONDERS in the post-Civil Rights Movement south. As anyone who has ever spent time in the United States southern regions, there are places one can visit today in 2009, and still feel as though the events of that era never took place. Ms. Kagen does a superior job portraying the segregation that still existed in small places like Cray Ridge, not to mention the abuse of power employed by white law enforcement, and the simmering tensions between the former and those forced to live in the deteriorating conditions of Browntown.

We also see the toll Vietnam took on American soldiers sent overseas in Gibby's friend Billy Brown Junior. The only son of the town's richest man, he spends the days since his return in the woods, often times believing he's still in the jungles of the Orient, with his own hideout shelters all over town....

Read the full review at www.teensreadtoo.com

posted by TeensReadToo on November 29, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Not what you expect!

The beging starts out pretty slow and its kinda hard to get into it. I'm not sure if I ever really did.

posted by joey85 on February 10, 2009

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  • Posted November 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Cat for TeensReadToo.com

    Though she survived the wreckage that took her parents lives one rainy summer night, that near-fatal car accident left Gibby McGraw N(ot).Q(uite).R(ight).

    While she spends her mornings working at Grandpa Charlie's Top o'the Morning Diner, her afternoons visiting the residents of Cray Ridge, Kentucky, running errands while Grandpa fishes, and gathering information to put in the stories she writes for Gibby's Gazette, Gibby also realizes everyone in town thinks she's diminished. Heck, even Sheriff LeRoy Johnson called her "dumber than anthracite" when he thought she was out of hearing range; but Gibby has a plan.

    At the top of her list of VERY IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO is to prove she is Quite Right and can take care of herself so Mama can rest in peace and Charlie will get off her back and stop sending her to talk with Reverend Jack every time she says or does something "inappropriate."

    And the perfect plan fell into her lap when she found Buster Malloy's murdered body, the man with plans to be the future state governor, washed up on the shores of Browntown. Now all Gibby need do is employ the skills learned from THE IMPORTANCE OF PERCEPTION IN METICULOUS INVESTIGATION by Howard Redmond of New York City, New York, to find Buster's killer and write the article for her paper.

    What Gibby didn't count on was all hell breaking loose in the meantime.

    I'm a huge fan of novels set in small towns; it's a prime opportunity for authors to utilize the family dynamic on a much larger scale and populate their world with plenty of quirky, compelling characters. Cray Ridge, Kentucky, is lousy with those folks, and I mean that in the best way possible.

    Gibby's the protagonist and we experience the novel via her first-person narrative, but all the characters were spectacular. Lesley Kagen had me laughing at Gibby's inappropriate outbursts and downright embarrassing questions until my sides hurt, and she had me stemming the flow of tears at certain points throughout while demonstrating just how much Gibby had lost due to the brain damage.

    There's so much more regarding friend and familial connections, secrets and betrayals, but I fear going further into detail will lead to spoilers. All I can say is the roots of the characters' relationships run deep and when that happens, there is a great deal of twisting and rot that must eventually be unraveled.

    A second, but equally important aspect in this novel is its social context. Ms. Kagen set LAND OF A HUNDRED WONDERS in the post-Civil Rights Movement south. As anyone who has ever spent time in the United States southern regions, there are places one can visit today in 2009, and still feel as though the events of that era never took place. Ms. Kagen does a superior job portraying the segregation that still existed in small places like Cray Ridge, not to mention the abuse of power employed by white law enforcement, and the simmering tensions between the former and those forced to live in the deteriorating conditions of Browntown.

    We also see the toll Vietnam took on American soldiers sent overseas in Gibby's friend Billy Brown Junior. The only son of the town's richest man, he spends the days since his return in the woods, often times believing he's still in the jungles of the Orient, with his own hideout shelters all over town....

    Read the full review at www.teensreadtoo.com

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2009

    Awesome Book

    This is one of the best books I have ever read. I recommend this book for anybody. I loved the plot and the love story between Gibby and Billy is so precious.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 28, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    ENJOYED!

    Three years ago, Gibby McGraw was involved in a car accident that took the lives of her parents and left Gibby Not Quite Right. This heart-warming book has it all, a little suspense, wonderful characters, a love story, brilliant and wit. ENJOYED!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 28, 2009

    An excellent book that will stay with you forever.

    This books needs to made into a movie. It's a book that makes you smile as you read. There are certain books that should be mandatory reading in middle school to teach tolerance such as this book, Whispering in the Dark and a another special book: The Color of Water.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2009

    Not what you expect!

    The beging starts out pretty slow and its kinda hard to get into it. I'm not sure if I ever really did.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2008

    The heroine hooks the audience from the onset

    In 1970 the car accident that killed her parents left Gibby McGrew with a brain injury that caused some damage that her grandpa calls not quite right (NQR). Three years later, the twenty something Gibby lives with her grandpa and works at his Top O¿ the Mornin¿ Diner and Pumps in Cray Ridge, Kentucky. Her dream of becoming a big city investigative reporter was smashed when her brain was dented on the day she became an orphan.-------------- However, Gibby refuses to totally give up on her goal. She produces the weekly Gabby's Gazette that patrons of her grandpa¿s diner can pick up a copy on Fridays. However she sees an opportunity to prove to her grandpa that though she will never be quite right, she can function quite nicely. Gibby has found the murdered corpse of the alleged next state governor, Mr. Buster ¿Butter¿ Malloy. She plans to solve the case.------------ Gibby hooks the audience from the onset and keeps our empathy throughout with her NQIR chick lit asides. Her commentary along with a strong support cast make for a delightful historical regional investigative tale. Fans will appreciate LAND OF A HUNDRED WONDERS due to the guide displaying an appreciative outlook for life more so than most people who are allegedly quite right. She is a ¿shoe-in¿ to gain reader admiration for her can do lifestyle.-------------- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2012

    I bought this book because it was only a couple of dollars, but

    I bought this book because it was only a couple of dollars, but it far exceeded my expectations--it was so funny and charming, the language was consistent which is a rare find with uniquely tonal books, and the characters were fleshed out just enough to propel the story along. Very good.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Set in 1973, Gibby MaGraw has lost her parents to an automobile

    Set in 1973, Gibby MaGraw has lost her parents to an automobile crash that she survived. But she did suffer brain damage that has left her NQR (Not Quite Right). This makes being a newspaper reporter pretty challenging.

    While out looking for her next big story she stumbles upon the dead body of the next governor of Kentucky, Buster Malloy. She figures if she can solve the murder and write a fantastic news article she will show everyone including her mother in heaven that she is on the road to becoming Quite Right again.

    Off with her leather-like briefcase that holds her blue spiral notebook, her favorite #2's, and her camera she stumbles over quite a few more astonishing things as she tries to put all the clues together with her hit and miss memory.

    More important though she learns some things are far more important than all the brains in the world, and that miracles occur in the most unexpected moments.


    Lesley Kagen is a Wisconsin Author and I am making my way through all of her books and I am enjoying them so much.

    The author is excellent at bringing her characters to life. Gibby has been through some terrible things and she just keeps going. Being "Not Quite Right" slows her down a bit but she keep pushing through. She is courageous and funny, most times unintentionally, and readers will fall in love with her immediately.

    She is surrounded by her grandpa and many friends who are all truly unique. They all have her best interests at heart and go to great lengths to protect her from remembering too much too fast. It is too hard to pick a favorite.

    The story is set is the south in the 70's and I believe the author portrayed the issues of the time quite well.

    This a heartwarming story that will hold your attention from the first page to the last. I was surprised at how quickly I read this book and all in one sitting. I was almost sorry to reach the end. The Land of a Hundred Wonders in a perfect place to escape.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 1, 2012

    This might be my favorite Lesley Kagen book! A wonderful good v

    This might be my favorite Lesley Kagen book! A wonderful good vs. evil story told through the eyes of a charming protagonist. Loved it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 27, 2011

    Love this author

    I discovered this author by chance and have now read 3 of her books. So much of it reminded me of when I was younger. She is so good about telling stories through the eyes of young kids, and how they would think. Love the way they talk too. Just fun books to read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 27, 2011

    "Quite Right" Lesley Kagen - Bravo!!

    Author, Lesley Kagen embodies a true talent for bringing her characters to life. I truly feel like I knew each character, at one time or another throughout my life. Two of them, Gibby and Billy, I will remember for a lifetime. Gibby is "NQR" due to a brain injury. You will love who she is and the miracles she views from everyday life. Gibby has the uncanny ability to remember her favorite sayings, although they are "NQR" as well. (I laughed so hard that I had tears streaming down my face.) Billy is Gibby's saving grace with a heart so tender, that he sees her for who she is and loving her despite her short comings. Growing up in the sixties and seventies I could relate to the innocence and innocence lost during that time in history. The corruption, the racism and secrets...we've come along way and yet have so far to go. Thank you Lesley!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 23, 2010

    what a disappointment!

    I loved Whistling in the Dark and thought I hit upon an author I could count on. But, I tried reading this book and it was so boring, seemed to go nowhere, characters I didn't care about, and 60 pages in, I put the book down and knew I wouldn't finish.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2010

    avid book reader

    I borrowed this book from the library and returned it before the due date. I found this book hard to get into and did not finish it. I would not reccommend it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 23, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A great read! Loved it!

    This book is great! It has everything... humor, romance, drama, a chase!, and heartbreak! I am a little disappointed in the ending... didn't really flow with the book but it was still good. I would and have recommeneded this book to others!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2008

    WOW!

    I absolutely loved this book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2008

    This book was QR!

    Lesley Kagen has such a wonderful sense of humor and does a great job narrating this story from the view point of a girl that has a brain injury. The story takes lots of twists and turns, but is entertaining from the first page to the last.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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