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Down the rabbit hole : an Echo Falls mystery
Book
2005
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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

Gr. 7-10. Thriller writer Abrahams crosses into youth territory in this rich, smoothly written mystery with a protagonist whose character is as substantial as her name and whose home and school experiences have the feel of real, sometimes messy middle-class life. When Ingrid Levin-Hill, 13, decides to run to soccer practice rather than wait for her ride, she gets lost in a not-so-nice part of town. Luckily, Cracked-Up Katie, one of Echo Falls' oddballs, calls her a cab. Convinced that full disclosure will only cause a lecture, Ingrid keeps her secret. Imagine her shock when she learns that Katie has been murdered--and Ingrid's cleats are at the crime scene. It isn't long before Ingrid starts feeling like Alice in Wonderland plunging down the rabbit hole. Homey details add enormously to the texture of the backdrop, and characters, including adults, are fully realized: Ingrid's not above a snotty comeback when she is feeling ornery or sees through adult pretense; curmudgeonly Grampy puts VO in his tea and defies convention by teaching Ingrid target shooting; and there's more to Joey Strade than his clumsy crush on Ingrid. Abrahams is concerned with adult motivations here, and his irony occasionally seems too arch for kids. But there's also plenty of excitement and just-right humor (Mom's constant concern about Ingrid's retainer is classic) as Ingrid's Alice-like curiosity pilots her, in bumbling stops and starts, right into the arms of a killer. Great start for the Echo Falls series. --Stephanie Zvirin Copyright 2005 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

Impatient with mother for being late for her ride to soccer, Ingrid Levin-Hill, eighth-grade Sherlock Holmes fan and amateur actress, makes an impulsive decision to walk, inadvertently becoming a witness in the murder case of Cracked-up Katie, the weird lady in the rundown house on the wrong side of town. Ingrid is afraid to come forward with her first-hand knowledge, fearing her parents' reprimand for leaving the neighborhood. Landing the lead role as Alice in the town's playhouse production of "Alice in Wonderland," she becomes more curious about the playhouse's past performers and a possible connection to Katie's youth. As the police investigation gets further away from the truth and the wrong suspects are arrested, Ingrid takes increasingly daring risks to solve the case herself and eliminate the evidence she left behind indicating her own suspicious involvement. Abrahams has crafted a suspenseful page-turning drama complete with misleading clues and gutsy midnight escapades that make for thrilling intrigue right up to the culminating drowning-in-the-river scene. Ingrid's plucky, if not foolhardy, behavior will have readers both rooting and worrying for her simultaneously as she continues, like Alice, to fall deeper and deeper into the mystery's unfolding. Harrowingly absorbing. (Fiction. YA) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
Ingrid Levin-Hill lands the plum role of Alice in the Echo Falls production of Alice in Wonderland. Things in Ingrid's small town soon keep getting curiouser and curiouser. Then events in Echo Falls turn into a nightmare, and Ingrid is determined to wake up.
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