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About Face

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Nothing ever changes in Turnback, Missouri. At least that's what thirteen-year-old Glory thinks. But then the carnival comes to town, and she meets Marvalene. Glory thinks that Marvalene has the most exciting life of anyone she's ever met. But Marvalene is tired of the carnival and longs to live with her family in a house without wheels. Both girls wish their lives were different, and both need a friend. But when Glory and Marvalene uncover a ...
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Overview

Nothing ever changes in Turnback, Missouri. At least that's what thirteen-year-old Glory thinks. But then the carnival comes to town, and she meets Marvalene. Glory thinks that Marvalene has the most exciting life of anyone she's ever met. But Marvalene is tired of the carnival and longs to live with her family in a house without wheels. Both girls wish their lives were different, and both need a friend. But when Glory and Marvalene uncover a secret from the past, their friendship may be doomed.

"As satisfying as a hot, crisp corn dog at a carnival.
-School Library Journal, starred review.

Both Glory Bea Goode, who lives with her grandmother over a second-hand store in Turnback, Missouri, and Marvalene Zulig, who travels with her parents with Shuroffs' Spectacular carnival, are unhappy with their lives until their friendship gives them a new perspective.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Glory Bea Goode has reasons to be introverted--the birthmark on her face, her dead mother, her missing father, and living in a huge, rundown junk-shop-cum-old folk's home. From the fairgrounds across the street, all of this looks good to carnie Marvalene who wants nothing more than to stop her life of roaming. The two lonely girls form a short but pivotal friendship that changes both their outlooks. Along the way, they solve a few mysteries and mingle with a colorful supporting company of outcasts. Through alternating viewpoint chapters, Wood manages to get into the heads of her adolescent characters.
Library Journal
Gr 6-9-An intriguing plot, abundant dialogue, and rich inner monologues intricately portray the negotiation of friendship between two 13-year-olds, both longing for a different lifestyle, in the outskirts of Turnback, MO. Glory has lived with her Gram since the death of her single mother 10 years earlier. When Marvalene and her carnival family come to the fairgrounds across the highway, Glory is determined to overcome shyness and shame over a large facial birthmark, to make friends with the girl. Outgoing, impulsive Marvalene is desperate to make friends with a town girl. Throughout the story, they work through their personality differences, as well as the mutual prejudices of their communities, often meeting secretly. In the end, both girls come to realize that they have what they need and want-loving, supportive families. Many of the characters have suffered significant loss, yet live with hope and have a positive outlook, including Marvalene's mother, who, no longer able to dance because of a debilitating stroke, works hard as a fortune-teller. Several subplots are skillfully woven into the plot, but none of the ends are neatly tied up, leaving room for thought and discussion. Adolescents who are questioning their lives and looking beyond appearances will appreciate this contemporary story. It's as satisfying as a hot, crisp corn dog at a carnival.-Laura Scott, Baldwin Public Library, Birmingham, MI Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
By virtue of a brief but meaningful friendship, two dissatisfied girls from sharply different backgrounds come to realize the value of what they have. Glory Bea Goode, who just finished seventh grade, hates living in her rural Missouri town in an old historic home that doubles as a junk shop. But Glory's stable life in "a house without wheels" is the envy of Marvalene Zulig, who travels around the country with a touring carnival. Although they are at opposite ends of the temperamental spectrum—Marvalene is in-your-face assertive, while Glory is timid and diffident—each embraces past hurts that poison their lives. Marvalene holds her father and the grueling carnival life he loves responsible for her mom's disfiguring stroke, while Glory, whose face is marred by a large birthmark, is too self-conscious to make friends. In the course of this colorfully written novel, Glory finds out that if she sees herself "as imperfect, other people will, too," and Marvalene comes to learn that she's a true carnival "firefly," a person who "only shine(s) while on the wing." Peopled with a quirky mix of improbable characters and somewhat lacking in emotional punch, this humane story conveys, in a quiet but stubbornly persuasive style, that happiness comes from within. (Fiction. 11-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399234194
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/1999
  • Pages: 1
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 640L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2003

    'About Face' is definitly a 'must-read'

    'About Face' is a wonderful book.I definitly reccomend this book to aanyone who loves to read. About face is about two girls who wish they lived in eachothers shoes.One of the girls,Glory Bea Goode,lives with her Gram because her father is a complete loser who doesn't pay child support and her mother died 10 years earlier due to a ruptured appendix.And the other girl, Marvalene Zulig,travels with a carnival with her parents.They both wish they had more interesting lives,but they realize that they really are happy with the way they ar after they solve a mystery about the so-called 'Crack-Pot' that lives in Room #5 At seven Cedars (Glory's House).I loved 'About Face' SO much that I'm reading it for a second time!!!I promise anyone who reads this book,that they will love it!!!

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