All the Greys on Greene Street
By Laura Tucker
Illustrated by Kelly Murphy
Publisher: Viking Children's Books (Penguin Young Readers Group) Copyright Year: 2019 ISBN/ISSN: 9780451479532
This is an unflinching yet brilliantly written portrayal of a child trying to handle life when her parents fail. The unconventional lifestyle of Olympia's parents has done little to prepare her to cope with the situation that develops when one day her mother decides to not get out of bed. The New York loft in which they live is located below the studio her father shares with fellow art restorer Apollo, that is, before Dad leaves for France on some unknown mission that Olympia fears is illegal. Her best friends are Richard, who is part Haitian and whose slow pace reflects his considered and ordinary life that is so different from her own; and Alex, who is always in motion, much like his upwardly mobile, diet-conscious real estate mother. The network of friends surrounding Olympia is supportive without seeing her situation as anything other than the standard bohemian lifestyle common to many artists. Tucker's writing brings complexity and depth to characters, plot, and setting, elevating this novel above most middle Grade fare. Art is Olympia's means for processing life, and it permeates everything around her. Historical details reflecting the spring of 1981, which is when the story takes place, enrich the narrative while strengthening the sense of immersion. An author's note is included that addresses children in a similar predicament as Olympia, which urges them to tell an adult and seek help if needed—unlike Olympia, who fears what adults will do if they know what is happening at home. As full of color as it is shades of grey, this title presents a world that is both frightening and ordinary. Tucker's debut novel is a triumph.
Reviewer: Carol A. Edwards
Rating: Highly Recommended
Grade (as stated by Reviewer/SLC): 6-8
Review Date: September 1, 2019
SoHo, 1981. Twelve-year-old Olympia is an artist--and in her neighborhood, that's normal. Her dad and his business partner Apollo bring antique paintings back to life, while her mother makes intricate sculptures in a corner of their loft, leaving Ollie to roam the streets of New York with her best friends Richard and Alex, drawing everything that catches her eye.
Then everything falls apart. Ollie's dad disappears in the middle of the night, leaving her only a cryptic note and instructions to destroy it. Her mom has gone to bed, and she's not getting up. Apollo is hiding something, Alex is acting strange, and Richard has questions about the mysterious stranger he saw outside. And someone keeps calling, looking for a missing piece of art. . . .
Olympia knows her dad is the key--but first, she has to find him, and time is running out.
Lauded by critics in five starred reviews, All the Greys on Greene Street has been called "a remarkable debut" and "a triumph."
Media Type Book, eBook
# Pages 320
Grade (as stated by Reviewer/SLC) 6-8
Sub-Genre Realistic Fiction
Content Subject 1 Friends, Peers, Family & Growing Up
Content Subject 2 Personal Development/Personal Problems
Time Period 20th century
Region North America
Story: Character Centered
Characters/Characterization: Vivid/Well Developed
Entry ID: 2216140