In the Night, on Lanvale Street

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I'm afraid, but I can't call Mom or Dad, 'cause Jerry might wake up. If I try to tell Shannon, she puts a pillow over her head, 'cause she doesn't like to talk about Mr. Healy. She says remembering him makes her sad.

"Charlie," he whispers.

I'm afraid. In the dark night, I feel like I'm at sea, in that little boat Mr. Healy used to talk ...

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Overview

I'm afraid, but I can't call Mom or Dad, 'cause Jerry might wake up. If I try to tell Shannon, she puts a pillow over her head, 'cause she doesn't like to talk about Mr. Healy. She says remembering him makes her sad.

"Charlie," he whispers.

I'm afraid. In the dark night, I feel like I'm at sea, in that little boat Mr. Healy used to talk about. That's why I'm writing this down. If you're listening, I hope you'll listen close. I'm not making any of it up.

He whispers in my ear, "Watch out."

A new novel from a Newbery Honor author

Summer has just begun, and thirteen-year-old Charlie and her younger brother, Jerry, anticipate spending the lazy days roaming their working-class Baltimore neighborhood. That is, until Jim Chalmers, a strange man who used to live nearby, enlists their help in solving the murder of their neighbor Mr. Healy.

As Charlie learns more about Mr. Healy's death, she struggles to protect her innocent younger brother from the realities of gangs and drugs, and to help him make that difficult transition from childhood to adolescence.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
There has been a hole in the community ever since Mr. Healy was killed late one night on his own front porch. Thirteen-year-old Charlie and her seven-year-old brother, Jerry, miss him terribly. No one seems to know anything, and no one seems to want to ask any questions, until Jim returns. A boarder at the Healy house on the night of the murder, Jim is starting his own investigation. He enlists Charlie, and even Jerry, to help him. All of this makes Charlie very uncomfortable. She just wants to enjoy the summer with her best friend, Shannon, to hang out in her neighborhood, and to keep Jerry safe. Still, Charlie's deeply troubled by the silence she gets in response to those questions she does ask. Maybe Jim is right that there are people who know what happened. Maybe they do need to find out what happened to set it right. But Jim's apocalyptic talk of good and evil and the future scares Charlie. As tension rises and Jerry's part in the investigation deepens, Charlie finds that she is already too involved to back out and learns that the fallout from Jim's truth-seeking just may be more than anyone anticipated. Jane Leslie Conly's novel is taut and realistic. Charlie's growing concern and horror are evident with each page. There is remarkably little violence for a book that deals with drug-dealers and murderers, but there is an ominous tone throughout. Appropriately, this story does not have a happy ending, but it does have a hopeful one. 2005, Henry Holt, Ages 12 to 16.
—Heidi Hauser Green
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-Thirteen-year-old Charlie and her seven-year-old brother, Jerry, live in the house built by her grandfather. Her father loves it even though the neighborhood has changed since his youth. Charlie and her family, nonetheless, are stunned when their next door neighbor is murdered. Mr. Healy was a friend and his home was a haven for an array of neighborhood kids. When Jim, one of the man's former boarders, involves Charlie and Jerry in identifying the killers, they find themselves enmeshed in a dangerous and altogether real mystery. Ultimately, the entire neighborhood is rocked by revenge killings, and the community is forced to take a hard look at itself. Characterizations are entirely plausible and memorable: Charlie's dad, who doesn't want to accept the changes that surround him; the boys who have become ensnared in drugs and violence but still show the occasional glimmers of connections to earlier times; and a host of secondary eccentrics who live on or around Lanvale Street. The city itself, presumably Baltimore, becomes a character, providing a gritty, sometimes unbearably brutal backdrop for this achingly realistic story. The staccato pace of Charlie's narrative is riveting, revealing the action as she lives it. Readers will have to accept, as Charlie comes to, that coping with death and violence is something that everyone does in a unique way, that change may be gradual and at great cost, but that it can-and will-happen.-Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A summer of anticipated lazy days filled with pleasant afternoons hanging out in their blue-collar Baltimore community is marred for Charlie, age 13, and her best friend and neighbor, Shan, by the increasing drug traffic that is invading the quiet streets. The murder of an elderly neighbor has everyone unnerved, as both young and old withdraw to their own lives to mind their own business. When the strange and disturbed man in a raincoat enlists Charlie and her seven-year-old brother as "investigators" of the crime, it becomes frighteningly apparent that Shan's brother is involved as a witness. The truth eventually emerges, the summer's events heat up to a violently realistic and painful climax and Charlie's life of friendship, ice cream and shared secrets of adolescence is permanently altered with the brutally vengeful firebombing of Shan's house. Conly approaches the all too credible theme and sequence of events through a slow, easy storyline reflecting day-by-day normal life of good kids stuck in a perilous environment, sprinkled with escalating, unsettled moments of fear, uncertainty and dread. Poignant and perturbing. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805074642
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 5/28/2005
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.74 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Leslie Conly is the author of the critically acclaimed Trout Summer (an ALA Notable and Best Book for Young Adults). She is also the author of While No One Was Watching, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book, as well as the Newbery Honor book Crazy Lady!

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2005

    A realistic story of people I cared for

    This is a story written in the first person, about a 13 year old girl's attempts to solve the mystery of her city neighbor's violent death. Charlie (Charlene) and her younger brother get involved with 'The Raincoat Man', who mixes investigation with talk about 'Judgement Day'. Her brother Jerry gets so scared that she has to tell her parents, but she doesn't tell them everything, and gradually the story gets more menacing. The latter part of the book is based on the true tale of a family in Baltimore. The resolution is much more realistic and less Hollywood than most kid books. It will give your younger teen (or sophisticated pre-teen) plenty to think about. I was in tears before the end, and they may be too. The author's love of animals lightens the tension in the book, with a cat-filled Exxon station, a rat that is buried under a headstone of popsicle sticks, and their lovable dog, Bobo. The book is wonderfully written, with strong, believable characters and realistic dialog. This one is a keeper!

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