Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Pawns by Willo Davis Roberts

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Recently orphaned, Teddi Stuart has spent the past four months in the comforting shade of her kind next door neighbor, Mamie. Teddi treasures her time with Mamie, and the bond between them grows stronger in the few months she spends with her foster mother. When an obviously pregnant girl knocks on their door, claiming to be the wife of Mamie’s son, Ricky, temporary shock overwhelms the duo. Especially because Ricky Thrane died in a plane crash from San Diego not so long ago, and he did not send letters or any other form of communication that he had a wife or was expecting a son. Despite the mixed feelings, Teddi and Mamie bring the girl, Dora, into their home, where she explains that she is close to delivering her child, adding some type of protective layer Mamie has for her, since Dora was bearing her first grandson. Soon after Dora’s arrival, Teddi meets the next door neighbor’s son, and a new friendship begins to build, followed by shopping, tennis lessons, and a later suspicion of Dora. Late at night, Teddi observes Dora walking briskly outside, even though she just gave birth to a child. Dora should be resting and taking care of her baby who was alone in his mother’s room, crying. Mysterious acts carried out by Dora throughout the pages increase Jason and Teddi’s suspicions about something not adding up about this woman. As the pages of the book continued, Teddi discovers more about Dora and what could be an unsettling truth about the wife of Ricky Thrane.

I believe that Pawns was an amazing story with some humor, suspense, and overall mystery and suspicion between the characters. This gave the reader a hunger to keep reading the next chapter, for anything could happen between one page and the next. The fact that the characters in different scenes were portrayed in a different angle each time, seemed to intrigue me into finding more about each of the characters. This blossomed a thirst of knowledge for what each character was really feeling and what secrets they were hiding behind their expressions. One aspect of this book I disliked was toward the end, where I could tell what would be the ending and what “secrets” would be revealed. Even toward the rear of this story, I wish the author added a bit more of a mysterious element, so the reader could not guess what would follow up as the end of the book. Overall, I think that the writing style, hints of humor, plot, and characters all fit together in a perfect puzzle, and that all the loose ends were tied up when I finished reading the last page.

The most memorable thing I think about this book was Dora’s strength. The first impression I had of her was when she rang the doorbell to the house and when I read that she was clearly pregnant and would be delivering soon. I appreciated how strong her character was when even when she seemed so fragile. Admiring how she held her ground in the beginning, even if her actions were sketchy, I thought she was a girl of steel. Though she was doubling over in pain, she ordered Teddi to help her with delivering the baby, and I thought it was not so much tough but bold and strong to hold her ground like that in such strain.


Reviewed by Sruthi, Grade 6, Twin Hickory Library

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