Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Girl with the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts

The Girl with the Silver Eyes (Simon & Schuster - Alladin, which I just read, but the version I owned as a kid was the Scholastic version, pictured right and I see that there was an Atheneum edition as well) was a book that I owned, and somewhere, in a dusty box in an attic far away, still do.

Katie can make things move. With her mind. It scares the people around her, and she doesn't have many friends. Her parents are divorced and she's been living with her grandmother--and some people suspect that she might have pushed her down the stairs to her death. So, when she goes to live with her mother in the city, and a strange man starts asking questions, Katie decides to track down the kids born to women her mother worked with at a laboratory. Maybe they're all...different.

I loved this book as...probably a kindergartener, but I reread it lots of times. I wished and wished for some special power to go along with being different, and it never appeared. Before there were Hogwarts letters, we still wanted them, I guess. My adult reread came with a sense of bemusement; I see why I liked this then, but now, I find the story kind of unsatisfying. Just when the special kids find each other, and just when they think they're in the worst trouble ever, they decide to go ask their parents what's going on. Not a bad strategy in real life, but not so adventurous in book form!

In my head, this book goes with No Flying in the House, Baby Island, Pippi Longstocking, and Cherry Ames--all books that might appeal at about the same time. And it makes me wish fervently that the library of my youth might reappear, just for an hour, so I could look through it and get the titles of all the books that I remember only a snippet of, and not enough to find them via a search. I can still tell you which shelves I'd want to tear apart--just not the authors I want to (re)read.

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