Gr 4-7This breezy, lighthearted romp is "Auntie Mame" recast in a children's book. Thirteen-year-old Connie's annual trek from Queens to Manhattan for her birthday-tea celebration with her eccentric and wealthy Great-Aunt Cornelia, for whom she's named, is the beginning of a summer that opens a closet of family secrets. As her great-aunt acculturates Connie to Manhattan's wonderful art scenes, the lively plot elements include a Russian wolfhound named Rasputin, two teen geniuses, the modern-art world, dancing skills, Connie's sister Eleanor (a psychic hotline addict), and inheritance money. A party for Connie culminates in a showdown of characters and events where Eleanor's persistence at untangling a genealogical mystery uproots the real family tree. Interspersed are barbs at NYC snobberies (e.g., New Jersey and Queens are the same; all New Yorkers wear black) and references to famous sites. A "quirky" family farce with comedy, romance, intrigue, and self-realization that's ripe for a movie script.Julie Cummins, New York Public Library
In her first book, Quirk proves herself smart and funny as she establishes and then parodies Manhattan high life as experienced by a teenager from Queens.
Connie O'Malley's Great-aunt Cornelia is larger than life and twice as batty. Filthy rich, she travels in a stretch limo, at least until her equally eccentric chauffeur gets himself hauled off to jail. Undaunted, Cornelia learns to take taxis and continues her energetic support of the Museum of HyperModern Art, retains her membership in the Manhattan Beanstalk Club, dines with her Russian wolfhound at the table, and invites Connie to venture in from Queens to spend the summer with her in Manhattan. Connie's parents aren't thrilled with the idea, but they agree to a two-week visit. A whirlwind tour of high society ensues, culminating in an extravagant party that reveals some surprising truths about Connie's family. There are many amusing moments in this spoof on the haves and the will-have-nots of modern New York City. The writing is tightly timed and riddled with humor as Quirk pokes fun at everything from nouvelle cuisine to dysfunctional families.