It’s Bianca Balducci’s junior year in high school, and she’s got more than enough on her plate—impending SAT scores, college admissions, and the mixed signals of sort-of-boyfriend Doug. But when she finds out her mother, widowed as long as Bianca can remember, plans to marry Officer Steve Paluchek, a longtime family friend, things get even worse very, very quickly—because Paluchek, according to Bianca’s private-eye sister Connie, is the man ...
It’s Bianca Balducci’s junior year in high school, and she’s got more than enough on her plate—impending SAT scores, college admissions, and the mixed signals of sort-of-boyfriend Doug. But when she finds out her mother, widowed as long as Bianca can remember, plans to marry Officer Steve Paluchek, a longtime family friend, things get even worse very, very quickly—because Paluchek, according to Bianca’s private-eye sister Connie, is the man responsible for the death of their police officer father.
And so Bianca is pulled into her most personal case yet—learning, for the first time, who her father truly was, even as she tries to determine who killed him. Was it Paluchek? He does seem to have ties to the immigrant smuggling ring their father was investigating. Or was it Paluchek’s partner? And can Bianca figure it out before an increasingly irrational Connie makes a fatal mistake?
Recovering Dad is more than simply the third installment of the Bianca Balducci mystery series, and the best Bianca mystery to date. It features more than Bianca’s engaging, funny, and always conflicted voice.
And it’s more than her latest set of concerns. Yes, she’s terrified about applying to college. Yes, her relationship with Doug isn’t working the way she’d hoped—the two do seem to be drifting apart. And yes, everything her best friend Kerrie says only makes her feel worse.
Placed in a situation where she has to step up, Bianca embarks on a momentous journey toward adulthood, and toward new relationships, including one with a potential new boyfriend. And she finds she must become a detective totally in her own right.
In Recovering Dad, Bianca not only finds out the truth about her late father, but she grows into a stronger, more self-confident, more self-reliant person.
Readers will have a blast reading Recovering Dad. Edgar finalist Libby Sternberg spins a yarn that will keep them glued to the page.
Debi Markee, Editor and Publisher, Resources for Children's Writers
Witty, smarter than she thinks, and always ready with a sarcastic quip, Bianca's own special brand of humor keeps Recovering Dad from sliding too far into the dark-side as she scrambles to stay ahead of her 20-something sister, Connie. Between wonder-bras, distant boyfriends, and SAT stresses, Recovering Dad is a fast paced, modern Nancy Drew-type mystery that’s a great read.
This third installment in the Bianca Balducci mystery series finds its titular character struggling with family and boyfriend problems. Through it all, Bianca comes across as a smart, spunky, and sensitive girl . . . and her story emerges as intriguing.
What strikes the reader most about this series is just how all-American girl-next-door Bianca is. So many mysteries written for YAs have characters that are so much more courageous and intelligent than their readers; Bianca is a girl her readers will find familiar, like them . . . The sisters Balducci operate frequently out of emotion, not exactly cool reasoning, but that makes them all the more believable to YA readers.
The mostly realistic and believable story moves quickly, aided by the quick-witted, first-person narrative.
School Library Journal
The real draw to this story is Bianca's voice, which is strong, vibrant, confident, and vulnerable. Her insights into the emotional lives of other characters move the story along. With its light dose of teen issues, Recovering Dad is a good transition for fans of Nancy Drew to contemporary teen fiction.
A Baltimore native, Libby earned both a bachelor's and a master's degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music and also attended the summer American School of Music in Fontainebleau, France.
After graduating from Peabody, she worked as a Spanish gypsy, a Russian courtier, a Middle-Eastern slave, a Japanese geisha, a Chinese peasant, and a French courtesan—that is, she sang as a union chorister in both the Baltimore and Washington Operas, where she regularly had the thrill of walking through the stage doors of the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C. before being costumed and wigged for performance. She also sang with small opera and choral companies in the region.
For many years, she and her family lived in Vermont, where she worked as an education reform advocate promoting school choice policies, contributed occasional commentaries to Vermont Public Radio, and was a member of the Vermont Commission on Women.
Libby’s first young adult novel, Uncovering Sadie's Secrets, was a finalist for the prestigious Edgar Allan Poe award from the Mystery Writers of America. The second in her Bianca Balducci mystery series, Finding the Forger, was released in hardcover in November 2004 (both were published as mass-market paperbacks by Smooch) and a third is set for release in 2008. Her debut adult novel, Loves Me, Loves Me Not (published under the name Libby Malin) was released in 2005 to critical acclaim. Her historical YA novel, The Case Against My Brother, received highly favorable reviews in 2007.
She is married, with three children, and now resides in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.