Behind the Masks

Behind the Masks

4.5 18
by Susan Patron

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Newbery Award-winning author Susan Patron brings her talents to the beloved Dear America series in this exciting story of a girl growing up in the Wild West, in a California gold mining town.

Growing up in the wild gold-mining town of Bodie, California, in the 1880s, Angeline Reddy has seen it all -- saloons, brawls, and a whole lot of desperation. When her


Newbery Award-winning author Susan Patron brings her talents to the beloved Dear America series in this exciting story of a girl growing up in the Wild West, in a California gold mining town.

Growing up in the wild gold-mining town of Bodie, California, in the 1880s, Angeline Reddy has seen it all -- saloons, brawls, and a whole lot of desperation. When her father, Bodie's greatest lawyer, is declared murdered, Angie knows deep in her heart that he isn't dead and decides it is up to her to solve the mystery of what happened to him. But when her mother takes ill and a mysterious ghost appears, putting together the puzzle pieces seems impossible. Not to mention, a gang of vigilantes, the 601, is raging out of control, running folks out of town, and nobody seems safe.
Will Angie, with the help of her friends Ellie and Ling Loi, and the mysterious and tragically handsome Antoine, be able to uncover the secret of her father's disappearance?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"More than a supplement to classroom textbooks, this series is an imaginative, solid entree into American history." -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"An impressive series that will challenge students to make connections from prominent historical events to relevant life situations. . . . A wonderful asset to the classroom as well as to home libraries." -- CHILDREN'S BOOK REVIEW SERVICE

"Engaging accessible historical fiction." -- SLJ

"The Dear America diaries represent the best of historical fiction for any age." -- CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Children's Literature - Joella Peterson
Life is tough in Bodie, California in 1880, especially for Angeline Reddy who is sure that her father is alive even if the town decided to go ahead and hold a closed casket funeral for him anyway. Angeline also is learning that people aren't always who they seem, as if they are all wearing theater masks (although with the ghost haunting perhaps a death mask would also be appropriate). For example, when some dirty cowboys accompany Angeline and her mother home from the dental office Angeline is sure they are up to no good. She did even think that they would be concerned for the two women while Mr. Reddy was missing. Also, Angeline meets a petite Chinese girl named Ling Loi, who is defensive and secretive. Angeline assumes that is because of her culture, but soon learns it is actually due to past experiences with how Ling Loi was treated. This is another interesting mystery drenched with history in this latest edition of the "Dear America" series. However, readers who benefit from short chapters might be frustrated at the lengthy diary entries. There is also a detailed historical note complete with pictures of Bodie. Reviewer: Joella Peterson
VOYA - Charla Hollingsworth
Angeline is a pioneer girl in the mining town of Bodie, California, in 1880. As her diary begins, she relates that her father is to be buried shortly, yet she does not believe he is dead. As the story progresses, Angeline reveals that she believes her father, a prominent Bodie lawyer, is hiding and pretending to be dead while he figures out who is behind the criminal vigilante gang activity in Bodie. With help from a young Chinese immigrant, the daughter of a wealthy community member, and a band of traveling performers, Angeline tries to uncover the truth of her father's disappearance and the identities of the gang leaders. Newbery Award-winning author Patron (The Higher Power of Lucky [Atheneum, 2006]) turns her attention to historical fiction with The Diary of Angeline Reddy. At times the writing is stilted, and young Angeline acts as if she is a contemporary of even the eldest and most established members of Bodie. While Angeline's age could be anywhere from late childhood to late teens, this tale will be better appreciated by younger readers with an interest in rural fiction. Reviewer: Charla Hollingsworth
School Library Journal
Gr 5�8—Angeline Reddy, 14, is distraught when her father, a criminal lawyer in a California gold-mining town in 1880, disappears and is declared dead by the local newspapers and coroner. Angie and her mother are sure that he is alive and enlist her pals Ellie and Ling Loi to help solve the mystery. When the friends see a ghost and witness a murder by a gang of vigilantes, Angie becomes even more desperate to find her dad. Patron does not shy away from gritty topics like brothels and includes real people among her cast of characters. (In a detailed historical note, she informs readers that Patrick and Emma Reddy were famous, but childless). A fast-paced, action-packed novel.—Terry Ann Lawler, Phoenix Public Library, AZ
Kirkus Reviews
A not-so-shy Angeline is a force for justice in a Wild West town that is out of control. In 1880s Bodie, Calif., there is no safety. Criminals run amok, along with a corrupt sheriff and a vigilante gang, all striking terror into bad guys and decent citizens alike. When Angie Reddy's father, a renowned criminal lawyer, is said to have been murdered, neither Angie nor her mother believes it. Angie sets out to find answers and discovers that she is pluckier, stronger and more determined than she believed herself to be. She is aided in her quest by the mysterious Ling Loi, new friend Ellie, young, handsome Antoine and the Horrible performance group. Together they bravely encounter cruelty, kindness, adventure and a host of fascinating and frightening characters. The female characters, missing from so much of the Western genre, are strong, passionate and enduring, with fully developed back stories. As Momma says, "[W]omen out west need to be ready to do most anything." Employing the diary format common to the Dear America series, would-be writer Angie paints a vivid picture of her life in that time and place. Primitive medicine and dentistry, gossip, prejudices, education, local politics, even clothing, parties and romance are all woven into Angie's account, adding richness and texture to the plot. A rip-roaring tale with a satisfying conclusion. (author's note, historical note) (Historical fiction. 9-14)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Dear America Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.48(w) x 8.52(h) x 1.00(d)
890L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Susan Patron is the author of many critically acclaimed novels for children including the Newbery Award winner, THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY; its follow-up book, LUCKY BREAKS; and the early chapter book MAYBE YES, MAYBE NO. She is a former librarian, now full-time writer. She and her husband live in a small cabin in the high desert of the Eastern Sierra of California.

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Behind the Masks 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A thrill of a a good historical fiction book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book. I have read it many times and it never gets boring. It is like amystery with a hint of romance and seen through the eyes of a girl who says it like it is. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This has to go down as one of my favorites in the Dear America Series, I had started off a while back and had forgotten about it then remembered and continued. I started at around page 60 and finished it that night. Definetly a good book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first dear america book that i read, i read the paperback and it was amazing!!!!! I loved it!!!! I hope to read more soon!!!!!
kalan More than 1 year ago
this was one of my all time favorite dear america books i really LOVED it it was wonderful i highly recomend it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. It is one of my favorite dear america books. &hearts
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this book is an interesting book. It an interesting book to me because, it’s taking place in Bodie ,California in the 1880s. This book is a very good book because, there is a mystery .I love mysteries because you can find out what happened .I hope you guys like mysteries like me if you can read this book. I want you guys to like this book. This book is a special book to me. I hope it a special book to you to. Oh and be sure to like this book. This book is a great book and if you guys like mysteries please read this book. This book Dear American and Behind the mask I strongly recommend you to read this book. Also if you want me to tell you find out what happened to Angie’s parents  in her village where she live and in her village there is an sickness coming. Angie’s dad died but the family don’t know what happened to Angie’s dad found out what was the sickness called. After a few month later Angie’s mom was sick and then she died and found out what was Angie’s mom sickness and if you know in village where Angie live there is a lot and please pray for Angie’s village maybe today it maybe is still sickness. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read untill the part wear she sees the three masks of the dead people then I returned it to the library because it scared me so much. And I am a 10 years old and in 5th grade.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book and i am a fourth grader
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I lloved it but u was at the library i hope it comes out there so that is what i think
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite Dear America books. This book is SO good. Just enough mystery to keep you on the edge of your seat, with a hint of romance for those who lile that sort of thing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My friend said it was weird and she would NOT recommend it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please tell me is good or sad? Please answer asap
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do u?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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