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Whistling in the Dark
Whistling in the Dark
Author: Lesley Kagen
It was the summer on Vliet Street when we all started locking our doors... — Sally O'Malley made a promise to her daddy before he died. She swore she'd look after her sister, Troo. Keep her safe. But like her Granny always said-actions speak louder than words. Now, during the summer of 1959, the girls' mother is hospitalized, their st...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780451221230
ISBN-10: 0451221230
Publication Date: 5/1/2007
Pages: 297
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.

3.9 stars, based on 378 ratings
Publisher: NAL Trade
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

Kmarie avatar reviewed Whistling in the Dark on + 528 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 29
This book brought a host of memories rushing back for me, and most of them were sweet and precious. This is a very vivid and powerful novel that reads like a memoir. I had to keep reminding myself that it was fiction, though the author did base many characters on people in her life (including her 10 year old self) as a child in 1959. Not only is this a wonderful book about two girls growing up in a less than secure and healthy time, but it is also a mystery that kept me guessing. I felt I knew the characters in this book as my own friends, and I was very disappointed to let them go at the end of the book. I was deeply touched by this book, and even though it has been nearly three days since I finished the book, I am loathe to start another because Sally and Troo are still living in my head and in my heart.

Author Lesley Kagen wrote this book at age 57, and though it is her first, I dearly hope it isn't her last book. Her website is http://www.lesleykagen.com
bananapancakes avatar reviewed Whistling in the Dark on + 95 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 20
This book is written through the eyes of 10 year old Sally who details the summer of 1959: one that would be like no other. Her sister Troo reminds me of mine so much, and I think made it more endearing. It reads like a memoir and captured me from the first chapter. The author actually based some of the details loosely on her own life. It very much reminds me of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, and it is not at all as dark as As The Crow Flies, by MacDonald, for those who have read those books. I do hope this author has more books planned. A great read & very highly recommended. 4.5/5
reviewed Whistling in the Dark on + 57 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 17
I loved this book. It took me back to the 50's. I was about the same age as the main character in the book st that time. I like the way she spoke as a 10 year old. It was very belivable. There was alot of suspense and a good ending too.
fightingillinifan avatar reviewed Whistling in the Dark on + 42 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
Whistling in the Dark was a wonderful story told by Sally O'Malley about her and her sister's adventures one summer in the 1950s. The story was very intriguing and unique. I could imagine everything as the author described it and found myself devouring the pages and seeing how the story would unfold. It was a great depiction of how life used to be, before we locked our doors. Highly recommended book, I will definitely be looking for more from this author.
pinkcypress avatar reviewed Whistling in the Dark on + 86 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
A beautifully written and engrossing book! I absolutely loved it. The characters were real and you truly cared for the; the voice of the narrator (a 10 year old girl) was believable. I highly recommend this one!
Read All 64 Book Reviews of "Whistling in the Dark"

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reviewed Whistling in the Dark on
This book was absolutely lovely and enjoyable to read. The plot is both beautiful and a bit sad at times but worth the read. Also, the ending surprised me and had me pondering about the plot after finishing that last page. (maybe even have you back tracking to get the whole perspective of the plot)
reviewed Whistling in the Dark on
I really enjoyed this one, you never know what Troo and her sister will be up to next. Can't help but feel sorry for them and the enviroment they are raised in even though they make the best of it. Definitely an enjoyable read.
23dollars avatar reviewed Whistling in the Dark on + 432 more book reviews
This was the May 2012 pick in my online book club, The Reading Cove.

From the way it began, I thought I'd like it more than I did. The characters and the setting of the midwestern America 1959 was charming and very well established; enjoyed all the pop culture references! And Sally O'Malley was very precocious and endearing, and I enjoyed the many LOL moments; but by the middle, the nostalgia felt over-indulgent, and got in the way of the plot's progression. The pacing was too slow and I was losing interesting. Not to mention it's highly unlikely the children would be allowed to continue roaming the streets when the neighborhood's little girls are being murdered and molested!

Sally's POV wore thin, with a rambling day-to-day trot of observations and interactions with neighbors and friends. Her younger sister Troo was just plain annoying most of the book.

A boat load of secrets are revealed toward the end, but the biggest of these - the murderer/molester reveal - turned out to be a bit underwhelming.

In the end, it was just OK. I add the plus for nostalgia's sake...C+
reviewed Whistling in the Dark on + 30 more book reviews
This story is a compelling story about two sisters in the 1960s. The author has developed the characters to touch your emotions through the adventures and life chances these sisters partake. The story is well written and very entertaining.
reviewed Whistling in the Dark on + 14 more book reviews
Great read. Very much in the ilk of "To Kill a Mockingbird." An enjoyable read, told from the pov of a child, during a depressed time in America.

The child's voice is both wise and wonderful.
madiken avatar reviewed Whistling in the Dark on + 3 more book reviews
I loved the voice of 10-year-old Sally O'Malley, a smart, imaginative, loyal little girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders. The author managed to convey nostalgia for times gone by without painting an unrealistically rosy picture of the past or detracting from the intriguing plot line that involved some serious issues facing these two young girls. The ending was a little too "made for TV movie" for my taste, but overall it was a nice read.


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