Monday, September 20, 2010

Liffey Rivers and the Mystery of the Sparkling Solo Dress Crown by Brenna Briggs

Food to eat while reading: Pre-feis Spaghetti and Meatballs
How fun is a mystery set at an Irish dance competition?

Read the synopsis here.

What I liked:

Liffey is a spunky, quirky girl who dreams of qualifying for a solo dress and eats spaghetti and meatballs the night before every competition. Because of her overbearing personality, no one, including the reader, can anticipate what she will do next.

The author pulls the reader into two new worlds that they may never otherwise explore. The first is the world of Irish dance. Second, she gives us a feel for the city of St. Louis, Missouri.

Liffey lets her imagination run a bit wild, which makes her the perfect sleuth. She notices clues that other people might not even wonder about.

I can see where Liffey’s looniness might be hereditary. I laughed when I heard that her aunt gave a cheer during Liffey’s competition:“Kick ‘em high, kick ‘em low, go, go, go.”

Liffey internalizes about her fears and dreams in a way that most girls her age can relate to. She wants a solo dress more than anything . She draws her own designs for a dress, notices other girls’ dresses and daydreams about it every few minutes.

What I would have changed:

Even though I enjoyed Liffey’s eccentricities, her daydreams and a few stray points of view switches gave me whiplash. She would obsess about her dress, launch into a lecture on the St. Louis Arch, and then on to her competition.

Liffey’s character wavered inconsistently. She spoke of how she didn’t mind that her father required her to have an escort at the hotel, and then give the escort the slip a few moments later. She

I couldn’t relate well to Liffey. I felt pity for her that she was always left alone at competitions and had no mother to care for her. But pity wasn’t enough to make me relate to her. Liffey's rudeness to other people,disregard for rules and disrespect for adults distanced me from her. I could see why the other girls in her Irish dance school avoided her, I would too. Her quirkiness went past the point where we enjoy reading about her idiosyncrises-she became a bit too far out there to be relatable.

The mystery was fun, but predictable. Liffey’s actions kept me guessing, but the plotline of the mystery was very basic and easy to wonder about.

The author did not attempt to explain the world of Irish dance to an outside viewer, and as a result, those who are not familiar with Irish dance competitions will be left scratching their heads.

The verdict:

Think Nancy Drew meets the Irish dance world.  Anyone who loves Irish dance will enjoy reading about Liffey’s adventures.

Purchase: Liffey Rivers and the Mystery of the Sparkling Solo Dress Crown

Genre: MG, mystery

Publisher: Paperback, 146 pages, Published November 3rd 2005 by BookSurge Publishing

Where I got the book: Brenna Briggs, author*

*I received only a copy of the book as compensation for my review.

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