Children's LiteratureVictor is gearing up for a potentially terrible summer. Instead of a skateboard for his birthday, he got a journal. His best friend has gone on vacation for the summer and Victor is dodging bullies at the local pool. But things take an interesting turn when he meets a mysterious girl at the pool and then finds even more mysterious letters in his mailbox. Victor teams up with the girl, whom he calls D, to attempt to solve the mystery behind the letters and the possible murder of a neighbor's dog. Eventually we become aware that D's life is not a very pleasant one, and Victor and his father both attempt to help make her situation better. At the same time, Victor is trying to resolve his relationship with his career-driven mother, who appears to want to be a part of the family again. The story is set in Germany (as is the author), which really makes little difference to the plot for American readers. This novel is not an unappealing story of an adolescent summer but nothing about it is particularly engaging. The story either loses something in the translation or could have benefited from the help of an experienced editor. The story meanders off on occasion, and what originally looks like an interesting mystery fizzles out long before the end of the story. An interesting book to add to a multicultural collection, but not a necessary purchase. 2006, Delacorte Press/Random House, and Ages 12 to 15.