"Dovey Coe" by Frances O'Roark Dowell, winner of the 2001 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Juvenile mystery book, is a timeless story about growing up and one that is surely destined to become a classic.
Dovey Coe is a twelve-year-old girl living in the mountains of North Carolina with her family in the late 1920s. She is the narrator of this tale that takes place the year her sixteen-year-old sister Caroline decides to go away to teachers' college and how their lives all change in ways none of them could ever have imagined.
It's easy to see why this book won The Edgar; the story moves along at a steady pace and the characters are well developed. The author doesn't come out and say which characters are respectable and which may have twisted morals. Instead, each character's personality comes through with the way the author describes them and has them respond to situations. There is the perfect amount of mystery for readers ages 9 and up, but not so little that older readers will get bored.
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This is a marvelously well-written story about a strong-willed North Carolina mountain girl who just 'tells it like it is.' Dovey isn't even a teen-ager yet but finds herself in jail for murdering a man--a man everyone in town knew she hated!
Dowell's novel won the EDGAR ALLAN POE AWARD.
From back cover: My name is Dovey Coe and I reckon it don't matter if you like me or not. I'm here to lay the record straight, to let you know them folks saying I done a terrible thing are liars. I aim to prove it, too. I hated Parnell Caraway as much as the next person, but I didn't kill him.
Dovey Coe says what's on her mind, so it's no secret that she can't stand Parnell Caraway. Parnell may be the son of the richest man in town, but he's mean and snobby, and Dovey can't stand the fact that he's courting her sister, Caroline, or the way he treats her brother, Amos, as if he were stupid just because he can't hear.
So when Parnell turns up dead, and Dovey's in the room where his body is discovered, she soon finds herself on trial for murder. Can the outspoken Dovey sit still and trust a city slicker lawyer who's still wet behind the ears to get her out of the biggest mess of her life?