Elvis & Olive

Elvis & Olive

4.6 6
by Stephanie Watson

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A delightful middle-grade novel from a first-time author, this story recounts the beginning of Natalie and Annie's friendship and the summer they decide to spy on their neighbors.

Natalie and Annie become friends and decide to spend their summer spying on their neighbors. What begins as a game turns serious when their findings are revealed to the neighborhood,

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A delightful middle-grade novel from a first-time author, this story recounts the beginning of Natalie and Annie's friendship and the summer they decide to spy on their neighbors.

Natalie and Annie become friends and decide to spend their summer spying on their neighbors. What begins as a game turns serious when their findings are revealed to the neighborhood, and when the girls discover unexpected things about each other. While the girls learn that it's sometimes helpful to reveal secrets, they also learn a lesson about the importance of privacy.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Natalie Wallis, the protagonist of this accomplished first novel, is leading a very buttoned-down life with her prim parents when, on the first day of vacation between fourth and fifth grade, she is accosted by the kid who has recently moved into the neighborhood eyesore. Annie isn't wearing a shirt, and what she's desperate to show Natalie is a dead baby bird. While repulsed, Natalie allows herself to be guided by her voracious reading: "Sometimes in fairy tales, being nice to the strangest, rudest creature turns it into a beautiful princess or handsome prince." She's also secretly thrilled by Annie's chutzpah-Annie lights candles in her hideout under the porch, tells obvious and outrageous lies, and spies on people. Overcoming her initial reluctance, Natalie joins Annie ("I propose that spies wear shirts," Natalie says) and the two adopt code names, Elvis and Olive, to snoop on the neighbors, with predictably disastrous results. Beneath Annie's moxie lies a huge wound that Natalie inadvertently discovers and that strains the girls' friendship to the breaking point. The last-minute emergence of a neighbor who comes to Annie's aid doesn't feel fully integrated, but readers will likely focus on the way it allows Annie to strengthen her bond with Natalie and the better future in sight for both girls. Ages 9-12. (Apr.)

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Children's Literature - Leslie Rounds
On the very first day of summer vacation, rising fifth grader Natalie Wallis cannot imagine how she will be able to fill the days until school starts again. Then she meets Annie Beckett, the new girl in the neighborhood. Annie clearly comes from a much less affluent background than her new friend, which is a matter of some concern for Natalie's parents. Annie tells Natalie about her past, of her mother who died of a disease so dreadful and rare it doesn't yet have a name and many other not-quite-believable stories. Though Natalie often doubts Annie's strange tales, she finds it hard to believe that Annie could lie so glibly. Together, they form a club to discover the secrets of the neighborhood. Their neighbors' indiscretions range from mildly embarrassing to criminal, with few in the neighborhood spared. Even Natalie and Annie find out—and angrily reveal—each others' secrets in public. The girls' behavior plausibly matches with their age and immaturity. By the end of the book, both have grown in their sensitivity toward others and their understanding of each other, perhaps providing a few subtle lessons to readers along the way. A nicely-told and plausible tale of the secrets good friends share. Reviewer: Leslie Rounds
School Library Journal

Gr 4-6- Ten-year-old Natalie is resigned to a quiet summer of riding her bike around the neighborhood and entertaining herself. But when she almost crashes into the new kid on the block on the first day of vacation, she quickly realizes that this summer is going to be anything but ordinary. Annie is brash and outspoken, and adamant that the far-fetched stories she tells about herself are true. She lives with her uncle, who provides minimal supervision. Natalie's mother tries to steer her daughter away from this friend's questionable influence, but Annie's unpredictable nature calls to Natalie. In search of adventure, the girls form a spy club: Natalie becomes "Olive" and Annie, "Elvis." Spying on their neighbors seems harmless enough until private issues are brought to light during a block party, and both girls learn painful lessons. The characters are fairly two-dimensional, and the loose ends tied up too neatly, but fans of protagonists like Anne Mazer's Abby Hayes will enjoy the twists and turns the story takes as the two try to undo the damage they have caused. An additional purchase for large collections.-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

Kirkus Reviews
Unconventional Annie, Natalie's new neighbor, is quite different from Natalie's polite private-school friends and her untidy house a contrast to Natalie's ordered one. Her idea of starting a secret-collecting club is downright compelling, however, as is the notion of adopting code names. Olive (Natalie) and Elvis (Annie) spy on their neighbors throughout the summer, gathering hidden bits of information about nearly everyone and creating a gallery of secrets on notecards in the space under Annie's porch. Somewhere behind the boldness, Annie harbors a secret sadness that Natalie can't quite fathom-until she learns the truth about Annie's mother. The collapse of the girls' friendship, along with their secrets project, devastates them both until a kindly neighbor helps to reunite them. Watson has penned a satisfying friendship story with drama and humor in fine balance. (Fiction. 9-12)

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Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.86(w) x 7.54(h) x 0.87(d)
690L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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Elvis & Olive 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this when I was in elementary school and I absolutely loved it!! I recommend it for kids but also teens too! And occasionally, adults x)
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Natalie is living a life with prim parents. When summer starts, she meets a young girl named Annie who isn't wearing a shirt and insist on showing her a dead baby bird. Over time, Natalie gets used to hearing Annie's strange tales and the two become good friends. When they decide to start their own spy business, they anger the neighbors, and Annie's unusual past starts coming to the surface. Who really is Annie, and what about her strange background? Are there really any secrets in the neighborhood to discover? A fun, friendship-filled story that is easy to read. The characters are memorable and the plot is slow-paced but keeps the reader interested. Those who like realistic fiction and stories like HARRIET THE SPY will enjoy reading ELVIS & OLIVE.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I found Elvis and Olive, I couldn't wait to read it. So, I got it and it turned out to be one of my favorite books. The story was great, exciting, and took me on a great adventure. This would definitely be a good book for the school year, and the summer too. Although this book isn't well known... it is absolutely one of the best books out there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a really good book! It was NOT boring at all. I stayed up all night reading. If you like realistic fiction, you'll love this book too! I recommend it for any age who wants a good read!