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Mailbox: A Scattershot Novel of Racing, Dares and Danger, Occasional Nakedness, and Faith

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"Deep, delightful, and compulsively readable." It's 1976. The USA turns 200 while scrappy agnostic Sandy Drue turns 10, finds an electric typewriter in her father's office, and begins turning out page after page on the conflicting demands of burgeoning adolescence and her own quiet search for the Meaning of Life. The result is a beguiling collection of loosely linked short "Deep, delightful, and compulsively readable." It's 1976. The USA turns 200 while scrappy agnostic Sandy Drue turns 10, finds an electric typewriter in her father's office, and begins turning out page after page on the conflicting demands of burgeoning adolescence and her own quiet search for the Meaning of Life. The result is a beguiling collection of loosely linked short stories and vignettes, gathered by a now 13-year-old Sandy into an unconventional novel structured like a blog, long before blogging. In the wake of the Watergate scandal, American society is in a state of bewilderment, the economy is fragile, and Sandy's friends are secretly reading Judy Blume -- against their mothers' warnings. The Drue family has moved from New York to Small Town USA where Sandy and her brother try to find their way to fit in. What they find instead is something ultimately more valuable. Mailbox is an unusual mother-daughter love story that is both hopeful and heartbreaking... profound and good fun.


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"Deep, delightful, and compulsively readable." It's 1976. The USA turns 200 while scrappy agnostic Sandy Drue turns 10, finds an electric typewriter in her father's office, and begins turning out page after page on the conflicting demands of burgeoning adolescence and her own quiet search for the Meaning of Life. The result is a beguiling collection of loosely linked short "Deep, delightful, and compulsively readable." It's 1976. The USA turns 200 while scrappy agnostic Sandy Drue turns 10, finds an electric typewriter in her father's office, and begins turning out page after page on the conflicting demands of burgeoning adolescence and her own quiet search for the Meaning of Life. The result is a beguiling collection of loosely linked short stories and vignettes, gathered by a now 13-year-old Sandy into an unconventional novel structured like a blog, long before blogging. In the wake of the Watergate scandal, American society is in a state of bewilderment, the economy is fragile, and Sandy's friends are secretly reading Judy Blume -- against their mothers' warnings. The Drue family has moved from New York to Small Town USA where Sandy and her brother try to find their way to fit in. What they find instead is something ultimately more valuable. Mailbox is an unusual mother-daughter love story that is both hopeful and heartbreaking... profound and good fun.

30 review for Mailbox: A Scattershot Novel of Racing, Dares and Danger, Occasional Nakedness, and Faith

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Freund

    Full disclosure -- I wrote this novel, so I better give it five stars! Writing it was indeed a five-star experience. Taking my cue from Pulitzer prize winning writer and truly awesome human being, Robert Olen Butler, I let the dream of this novel roll out unimpeded -- and its editors evidently agreed. In his excellent writers' guide of transcribed lectures, 'From Where You Dream,' Butler says "Art does not come from the mind. Art comes from the place where you dream. Art comes from your unconsci Full disclosure -- I wrote this novel, so I better give it five stars! Writing it was indeed a five-star experience. Taking my cue from Pulitzer prize winning writer and truly awesome human being, Robert Olen Butler, I let the dream of this novel roll out unimpeded -- and its editors evidently agreed. In his excellent writers' guide of transcribed lectures, 'From Where You Dream,' Butler says "Art does not come from the mind. Art comes from the place where you dream. Art comes from your unconscious; it comes from the white-hot center of you." He follows with the encouragement to "tell your mind to back the hell off." That is his advice for writers, and I think it's also great advice for readers. I'm sure there's a continuum every writer navigates with their content -- prohibition to inhibition, a reluctant acceptance of permission, and ultimately a discovery of encouragement as the writing flows into true freedom of expression. To the extent that'Mailbox' resonates with a reader, it will be this freedom of expression, no doubt, that clinches it. Its structure demands open-mindedness and curiosity perhaps uncommon in adult readers -- even readers of contemporary fiction. It offers an invitation to get on board and go along for the ride or to step back and play archaeologist with the pages. Sandy Drue embarks on a sort of treasure hunt. Hers is a quest to solve a mystery without fully comprehending it, and her resultant collection of stories and "advice for life" reveals the clues.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Pia

    I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. I loved this book! Sorry to be so bold, but it's the truth. Sandy Drue writes about her life, family and friends, and also of her beloved dog Barley. Oh, how she wishes she were like Nancy Drew! After all, their surnames sound the same, right? Sandy's wisdom is charming. The book takes us from when she is 8-9 years old until she turns 13. She's a young girl, but she's not cute or silly. She's very smart and though a bit naïve (she's a I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. I loved this book! Sorry to be so bold, but it's the truth. Sandy Drue writes about her life, family and friends, and also of her beloved dog Barley. Oh, how she wishes she were like Nancy Drew! After all, their surnames sound the same, right? Sandy's wisdom is charming. The book takes us from when she is 8-9 years old until she turns 13. She's a young girl, but she's not cute or silly. She's very smart and though a bit naïve (she's a kid, after all) she comes across as completely lovable. There's nothing mushy about her Narrated in the first person, the book can be read as a series of short stories that weave into each other. Maybe what got to me was that I felt my childhood and early adolescence were so much like Sandy's? Though a few years older, the book took me back to a happy place, and I'm so grateful to the author for this feeling. Nancy Freund's writing is absolutely beautiful. It had me highlighting half the pages in the book. An example, in Sandy's own words: "Everyone can believe what they want, anything and everything, and I can believe what I want, and I know it's true".

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Mariampillai

    I received a copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. Actual Rating: 2.75 This was a cute read. I thought the story was interesting, and I thought Sandy was an interesting character to read. She is very mature for her age, and I found that interesting as well, especially when she observes adults and their behaviors. For me, I do not think it was the type of book I would read. I thought it was okay and it was a bit boring at times. Overall, a quick read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Myrthe

    4.5* I won this book in a giveaway, two years ago. And then my life got crazy busy and this book ended up just standing on my shelf. Then, a few days ago, I finally remembered to read this and I actually had time! The only thing I regret is not reading this book earlier, because it's just so cute! The book is composed of 75 vignettes written bij Sandy Drue between ages 8 and 13. She writes about her life and everything that comes on her path. Throughout these stories, she gains wisdom about life. 4.5* I won this book in a giveaway, two years ago. And then my life got crazy busy and this book ended up just standing on my shelf. Then, a few days ago, I finally remembered to read this and I actually had time! The only thing I regret is not reading this book earlier, because it's just so cute! The book is composed of 75 vignettes written bij Sandy Drue between ages 8 and 13. She writes about her life and everything that comes on her path. Throughout these stories, she gains wisdom about life. It almost reads as her diary: sometimes parts seem irrelevant, but they are important to her. That way, the reader can have a look in her daily life which makes the book, and especially Sandy, relatable. Overall, this book made me happy a lot: the atmosphere of the 70s was so much fun to read (even though I was born around 20 years later) and for me, it almost felt like going back to being a 13-year old girl again.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cristina

    Although I've noticed that some reviewers tend to think that this book was a bit boring from time to time, for me it was just the right thing at the right moment. Mailbox is beautifully written and somewhat resembles "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret' by Judy Blume' but Sandy, the main character, has a lot more courage and personality when compared to other teenage characters I've come across over the years. She's feisty and independent and knows right from wrong and won't let be taken down Although I've noticed that some reviewers tend to think that this book was a bit boring from time to time, for me it was just the right thing at the right moment. Mailbox is beautifully written and somewhat resembles "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret' by Judy Blume' but Sandy, the main character, has a lot more courage and personality when compared to other teenage characters I've come across over the years. She's feisty and independent and knows right from wrong and won't let be taken down by the critiques of bullies at home. I particularly enjoyed the relationship she had with her brother and parents up to the point I started wishing it would have been the same for me back when I was 13. There was a part where Sandy goes to a Haunted House along 13 other girls or so, and there's a creepy doctor that starts faking an experiment on one of Sandy's colleagues - I LOVED this scene. When things began to get super creepy, and Sandy thought the doctor would have wounded her colleague, Constance, she decided to jump right in and throw in some punches at that fake doctor. I laughed so hard when I read about a 13-year-old girl beating a creepy adult that I had to tell my boyfriend all about the scene because he didn't understand why I was chuckling so much. In other words, Mailbox just couldn't have been better for me. * I received a free electronic copy of this book thanks to NetGalley and the publisher.

  6. 5 out of 5

    bsbookbuzz

    I didn’t really enjoy this book, and perhaps that was because it was from a child’s perspective but I wasn’t what I was hoping for. I am again in the minority of this group because a lot of people liked it but it just wasn’t good for me. I think it’s also to do with the time it is set in (the 1970s) and I’m not a big fan of stories set in the mid 20th century. I think the letters were a redeeming quality but it wasn’t it for me. This book also didn’t have much of a plot and slow. I think if she I didn’t really enjoy this book, and perhaps that was because it was from a child’s perspective but I wasn’t what I was hoping for. I am again in the minority of this group because a lot of people liked it but it just wasn’t good for me. I think it’s also to do with the time it is set in (the 1970s) and I’m not a big fan of stories set in the mid 20th century. I think the letters were a redeeming quality but it wasn’t it for me. This book also didn’t have much of a plot and slow. I think if she changed the era the book would have been better because there could have been more relatable and would have interested me more. An important part about reading for me is, relevance and relations to either myself or what is going on. And like To Kill A Mockingbird, it was neither. 1.5/5

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Rating: 2.5/5 (I received a free ecopy from the publisher, Gobreau Press LLC, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.) Sandy Drue is a young girl living in 70's America. She has many unique experiences with her family, friends, and not so friendly people. Whenever she experienced something she wanted to remember, she wrote it down and stored it in a box for when she would write her book. That is exactly what this is - the collection of Sandy's memories throughout her childhood put together Rating: 2.5/5 (I received a free ecopy from the publisher, Gobreau Press LLC, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.) Sandy Drue is a young girl living in 70's America. She has many unique experiences with her family, friends, and not so friendly people. Whenever she experienced something she wanted to remember, she wrote it down and stored it in a box for when she would write her book. That is exactly what this is - the collection of Sandy's memories throughout her childhood put together by Sandy after her box was full at age thirteen. We experience Sandy's life through snippets of moments where she ponders religion, friends, and life in general. I had never read a book like this before, so it was a unique experience for me. Although this isn't really my style of reading, I still found it cute and somewhat enjoyable. What I found most interesting is what it was like to be a kid in America in the 1970's. Both of my parents grew up outside of Canada/USA so it was interesting learning how it was in America at the time, how the kids amused themselves, how they spent time together, and what they read. I thought Sandy was quite mature for her age, and also that a lot of her experiences were relatable. She went through a lot of deep thought at quite a young age, pondering religion, God, and the meaning of life at only about 7 or 8 years old. She seemed to understand the bigger picture, but at the same time was believable as a child. However, I did find some of her stories boring or silly. Overall, I thought this was a cute story but I don't think I would reach for this type of book as my first choice. I find it hard to write reviews for books that don't have a complex plotline for me to critique, so there isn't much else for me to say except that if this type of format appeals to you or you're just looking to try something new, you should pick this one up for a quick read. You can get it from Netgalley here: https://s2.netgalley.com/catalog/book....

  8. 5 out of 5

    Caron

    Originally posted to my blog: https://diminishingthoughts.wordpress... I received this book from the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Mailbox is a collection of short stories compiled by Sandy Drue who takes us through different moments in her life from the time she’s seven. I don’t usually read stories like this because even though there’s only one main character, it focuses on so many things and is in a way not consistent. This story exceeded my expectations anyway and th Originally posted to my blog: https://diminishingthoughts.wordpress... I received this book from the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Mailbox is a collection of short stories compiled by Sandy Drue who takes us through different moments in her life from the time she’s seven. I don’t usually read stories like this because even though there’s only one main character, it focuses on so many things and is in a way not consistent. This story exceeded my expectations anyway and the writing style wasn’t bad. I liked how these stories started from ‘the beginning’ of sorts and worked its way from there. Seeing life through Sandy’s eyes was definitely different and it was easy to tell what a happy child she was. There were a few stories that I wasn’t a fan of and one that totally creeped me out. The way it was written was with the innocence of a child and I think that was the creepy part. The writing style was good and the build up was great. It got a bit sad at the end but that last part helped me be comforted.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Knight

    Very enjoyable read. Wise and witty words from a pre-teenager in her search for what is right and wrong, in her search for God and making sense of what Life is all about. She learns from her atheist and entrepreneurial parents as well as from her friends in all kinds of situations and she relates to us these meaningful and lovely stories. It could be a blog from the early 80's written with an electric typewriter and carbon paper that every generation will enjoy reading. Very enjoyable read. Wise and witty words from a pre-teenager in her search for what is right and wrong, in her search for God and making sense of what Life is all about. She learns from her atheist and entrepreneurial parents as well as from her friends in all kinds of situations and she relates to us these meaningful and lovely stories. It could be a blog from the early 80's written with an electric typewriter and carbon paper that every generation will enjoy reading.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Emilie

    A fast read about a 8-13 year old, and her experiences growing up during the 70s. Reminds of the Judy Bloom "growing up" books. Cute story. Nice light, comfort read. A fast read about a 8-13 year old, and her experiences growing up during the 70s. Reminds of the Judy Bloom "growing up" books. Cute story. Nice light, comfort read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Sadly this book was archived before I could download to read it. It has been added to my TBR and I’ll keep an eye out for it again in the future or at my local library.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Belinda Alberth Mziray

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I read this book and I was impressed by Sandy's wisdom at the end of each chapter or in between the lines . When I first started reading it I read more than one chapter. Then I decided one chapter a day and maybe a pencil and a highlighter because each chapter had a valuable lesson, advice, encouragement and a lot more to absorb. I loved Sandy's bravery and honesty in most of the chapters . I read this book and I was impressed by Sandy's wisdom at the end of each chapter or in between the lines . When I first started reading it I read more than one chapter. Then I decided one chapter a day and maybe a pencil and a highlighter because each chapter had a valuable lesson, advice, encouragement and a lot more to absorb. I loved Sandy's bravery and honesty in most of the chapters .

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Sweeney

    Originally posted on The Bibliophile Chronicles! A scrappy young girl with a typewriter, tells all about life in the 1970s. Sandy Drue is ten years old. When she finds a typewriter in her father’s office she begins churning out pages and pages about her life and what it means to be a young girl in America at this time. Filled with scattered stories and adventures, the novel takes us through the turmoil’s of America – the Watergate Scandal, economic fragility to name but a few – as well as the turm Originally posted on The Bibliophile Chronicles! A scrappy young girl with a typewriter, tells all about life in the 1970s. Sandy Drue is ten years old. When she finds a typewriter in her father’s office she begins churning out pages and pages about her life and what it means to be a young girl in America at this time. Filled with scattered stories and adventures, the novel takes us through the turmoil’s of America – the Watergate Scandal, economic fragility to name but a few – as well as the turmoil’s of growing up. This is a really interesting novel, and is pretty much completely different from anything I have ever read before. The book is almost like a series of short stories, except they all focus on one little girl and her life. As the title suggests there are stories about racing, about dares and danger as well as family, politics, education and pretty much everything in between. I found this a really enjoyable read, it really showcases what it is to grow up in 1970s America, I imagine if you were born in that time period, this book would be extra special to you. Although I was born twenty odd years later, I still see a lot of similarities to my upbringing, and that definitely brought a smile to my face. One thing about Mailbox is that it is full of emotion, one story might make you laugh out loud, while the next will bring you to tears. This is not the sort of book that I read often. Predominantly my interests lie in the fantasy genre, but it was nice just to read a book about real life, and characters that are extraordinary, but not because they have magical powers or abilities.The book is incredibly well written, and it’s so interesting to see the subtle little conversations that ultimately shape Sandy into the adult she is. As a character I absolutely loved Sandy, she always questions things, she’s inquisitive and intelligent, and she makes the same blunders we all do growing up. It was a pleasure to be inside her head and see things from her perspective. Mailbox is a very powerful read, and one that I think stays with you even after you've finished reading it. If you’re looking for a break from the swords and magic, Mailbox might be exactly what you’re looking for.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bella Reads and Reviews

    This “scattershot novel” is a compilation of 76 different short takes on a variety of subjects seen from the point of view of a precocious thirteen-year-old girl, Sandy Drue. The mailbox referenced in the title is a box into which, over the previous few years, she has been putting scraps of paper with her observations about life. Now she has pulled them together into a composition of sorts. The little stories themselves are a mix of funny, poignant, and astute interpretations of everything from r This “scattershot novel” is a compilation of 76 different short takes on a variety of subjects seen from the point of view of a precocious thirteen-year-old girl, Sandy Drue. The mailbox referenced in the title is a box into which, over the previous few years, she has been putting scraps of paper with her observations about life. Now she has pulled them together into a composition of sorts. The little stories themselves are a mix of funny, poignant, and astute interpretations of everything from religion to puberty to how unfunny haunted houses can be. She searches for the meaning of life while contemplating fireflies, loss of loved ones, and the questionable conduct of some of the adults around her. In true stream-of-consciousness behavior, she says whatever comes into her mind at the moment, punctuating her narrative of what’s happening now with an amusing aside or a quick definition of a word she thinks the reader may not know, then exuberantly popping back in to finish where she unceremoniously left off. This novel is classified as Coming of Age rather than Young Adult, and I believe that’s wise. In true Judy Blume style, the author takes us into the thoughts of a preteen facing the physical changes of young womanhood and beginning to ponder her place in the world. Sandy’s voice is young—at times, she made me think of Junie B. Jones—and the stories she tells most likely have more nostalgic significance and appeal for mature adults than for teenagers who have recently moved out of that phase themselves. I found this to be primarily a light read, quick, and fun. To say I loved it would be an overstatement, but it’s a very worthwhile read. Bella Reads and Reviews received Mailbox via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Olivia Wildenstein

    Thanks to Freund’s stunning, naïve prose, I was thrown back to my early teens when everything was an overwhelming discovery, and where everything was so simply complicated. Mailbox is the “diary” of a young girl on the brink of adulthood, who discovers about tampons, boys, cow tipping, and death. Every chapter is a jewel of a scene, a life lesson full of innocence and intellect and such humor. Every chapter sticks to your mind, but I have my favorites. Chapter 17. Fireflies and the Sprinkler. Beca Thanks to Freund’s stunning, naïve prose, I was thrown back to my early teens when everything was an overwhelming discovery, and where everything was so simply complicated. Mailbox is the “diary” of a young girl on the brink of adulthood, who discovers about tampons, boys, cow tipping, and death. Every chapter is a jewel of a scene, a life lesson full of innocence and intellect and such humor. Every chapter sticks to your mind, but I have my favorites. Chapter 17. Fireflies and the Sprinkler. Because it is just so visually enthralling. “…he slapped his big hand onto her stomach with the firefly and smeared its light from her belly button to her hip. That blue firefly.” Chapter 25. Lemonade Stand. Because it is just so smart. “If you try to sell perfume at your lemonade stand, no one will buy any.” Chapter 46. You Can’t Practice for Someone Dying. Because it is just so true. “You might think you can have small bits of sadness over a long period of time, starting now, to make it not so awful at the time.” Freund’s Mailbox should be on the course curriculum of every middle/high school in English-speaking countries. It has just been nominated as a finalist in the INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award and it is so well deserved.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Scott

    I got this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Mailbox is the strangest novel I’ve ever read- in a good way. I absolutely loved the structure though it took some getting used to. The novel is divided into dozens of little vignettes that have stories and adventures about a young girl growing up in 1970’s America. Mailbox reads like a collection of short stories or fragments that are linked together and not always in obvious ways. Imagine someone had written a j I got this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Mailbox is the strangest novel I’ve ever read- in a good way. I absolutely loved the structure though it took some getting used to. The novel is divided into dozens of little vignettes that have stories and adventures about a young girl growing up in 1970’s America. Mailbox reads like a collection of short stories or fragments that are linked together and not always in obvious ways. Imagine someone had written a journal every day for years and one day suddenly tore out all the pages and scattered them. This is what Mailshot is. I’ve read a lot of novels set in the present or future recently so I really enjoyed taking a trip to the 70’s (when I wasn’t even born). I thought Sandy was a great character. I loved her point of view. I found myself having a few nostalgic moments and wondering was I like that when I was 13? I hope so. Sandy’s voice is perfect to narrate the novel and so much of her anecdotes, asides and observations rung true.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Overmoyer

    Books a best when read with friends, as I'm sure MAILBOX narrator Sandy Drue would agree, so when a friend said she got MAILBOX from the "Read Now" ARC shelf at NetGalley, I did too. Nancy Freund's "scattershot novel" is a collection of seventy-five super short stories, some not more than a paragraph or two, which are really the diary of Sandy Drue as she ages from eight to twelve or so. The appeal of this book, disjointed though it sometimes seemed, was that I identify with Sandy Drue. Freund p Books a best when read with friends, as I'm sure MAILBOX narrator Sandy Drue would agree, so when a friend said she got MAILBOX from the "Read Now" ARC shelf at NetGalley, I did too. Nancy Freund's "scattershot novel" is a collection of seventy-five super short stories, some not more than a paragraph or two, which are really the diary of Sandy Drue as she ages from eight to twelve or so. The appeal of this book, disjointed though it sometimes seemed, was that I identify with Sandy Drue. Freund places her in time about two decades before I was those ages but she gives Sandy the thoughts I had, Sandy writes things like what I wrote (or would have written if I'd been better at keeping a diary), and Sandy talks like I talked when faced with the changes of childhood to not yet adulthood. All that being said, I think I would have liked the book more if it was a proper novel told from Sandy's perspective, because I love Sandy. Less random essays and more story, that sort of thing. And all that being said, MAILBOX is an excellent way to spend a few hours. (I received a copy of MAILBOX through NetGalley and Gobreau Press LLC in exchange for an honest and original review.)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bookmuseuk

    The tagline on this book says ‘A Scattershot Novel of Racing, Dares and Danger, Occasional Nakedness, and Faith’. That and the scuffed Converse trainers on the cover might lead you to think you were in for a teen romance. However, there is a great deal more to this book. Sandy Drue is thirteen and has just moved with her family to a small town in the USA. In a series of short vignettes, she tries to make sense of the world through her observations and life lessons, which are by turns funny, perce The tagline on this book says ‘A Scattershot Novel of Racing, Dares and Danger, Occasional Nakedness, and Faith’. That and the scuffed Converse trainers on the cover might lead you to think you were in for a teen romance. However, there is a great deal more to this book. Sandy Drue is thirteen and has just moved with her family to a small town in the USA. In a series of short vignettes, she tries to make sense of the world through her observations and life lessons, which are by turns funny, perceptive, thought-provoking, sad, intense and unnerving. There’s nothing saccharine about this inbetweener’s view of the world. Her voice is clear and serious, allowing the reader an immersive experience of what it’s like to be young in a confusing, contradictory society. Sandy is a wonderful character; her curiosity for words, her love for her ‘upside-down’ family, her rapid judgement on what is ‘stupid’ and ‘ridiculous’, her logical and very personal attempts to answer the question ‘what are you’ all combine to make this a character you are sorry to leave. So if you pick up this book and think you’re stepping into a shallow puddle, be prepared for hidden depths.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Laurie Emery

    I absolutely loved this book. Nancy Freund literally transported me back to my own childhood of the 70’s and 80’s and the memories I share with her precocious thirteen-year-old protagonist Sandy Drue -- our voracious appetite for the Nancy Drew mysteries, the dangerous sneak-reading of Judy Blume’s books, even my brief but semi-embarrassing obsession with anything Holly Hobbie. Ms. Freund weaves together 75 short vignettes that capture episodes in Sandy Drue’s young life with a brilliant ease. T I absolutely loved this book. Nancy Freund literally transported me back to my own childhood of the 70’s and 80’s and the memories I share with her precocious thirteen-year-old protagonist Sandy Drue -- our voracious appetite for the Nancy Drew mysteries, the dangerous sneak-reading of Judy Blume’s books, even my brief but semi-embarrassing obsession with anything Holly Hobbie. Ms. Freund weaves together 75 short vignettes that capture episodes in Sandy Drue’s young life with a brilliant ease. The observations that Sandy records and keeps in a mailbox in her room contain insights that strike you as astonishingly perceptive, yet believably those of a smart young girl. Certain threads keep you flipping back to previous chapters as the relationships between them become clear. Sandy has a simple way of looking at things that are heartwarming and wise, whether that be a crush she has on a boy, her love of her beagle Barley, or her insights into the relationship between her mom and dad. This is a great read and one I highly recommend. I look forward to Nancy Freund’s next book!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    This is not typically what I think of when I think of a "novel". It is a series of short stories and essays written by a girl between the ages of 8 and 13 who wants to be a writer when she is grown. She offers tips on honesty, hard work, how to run a successful business, why your mom is the most beautiful mom in the world, and general thoughts on the meaning of life. While this book is certainly suitable for young adults, I believe it was written for adults, particularly women born in the 60's. This is not typically what I think of when I think of a "novel". It is a series of short stories and essays written by a girl between the ages of 8 and 13 who wants to be a writer when she is grown. She offers tips on honesty, hard work, how to run a successful business, why your mom is the most beautiful mom in the world, and general thoughts on the meaning of life. While this book is certainly suitable for young adults, I believe it was written for adults, particularly women born in the 60's. While anyone would enjoy the book, you will miss certain nuances if you weren't born in that time frame. Remember skate keys, Bonne Bell Lip Smackers, Love's Baby Soft, eyelet lace on your dresses? There are funny parts, sad parts, and scary parts. And you'll spend a lot of time thinking, "Yes, that is how I grew up to be the person I am today." Again, it wasn't what I read novels for, but it was cute and worth the time I spent with it!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Heidi | Paper Safari Book Blog

    Each chapter is different and the book wanders around from topic to topic but it all fits together, sort of like reading someone's diary. This diary is of Sandy Drue, who wants to be Nancy Drew and has all sorts of delightful insights into life and adults. Maybe it's due to the fact that I grew up in this time period but it was wonderful to read about so many of my childhood staples, the metal roller skates, the politics of the time, and all sorts of things. Sandy's parents are artistic and unco Each chapter is different and the book wanders around from topic to topic but it all fits together, sort of like reading someone's diary. This diary is of Sandy Drue, who wants to be Nancy Drew and has all sorts of delightful insights into life and adults. Maybe it's due to the fact that I grew up in this time period but it was wonderful to read about so many of my childhood staples, the metal roller skates, the politics of the time, and all sorts of things. Sandy's parents are artistic and unconventional and allow their children to figure things out on their own. Her parents often state that they feel like they are raising foreign exchange students, they don't always understand their kids but they are always supportive. This is a great coming of age novel. I loved the style of the writing and the insights into childhood in the 1970's USA. Very well done, but don't expect a fluid story.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jenner

    While a lot of reviews suggest that the 40 and up crew would enjoy this book because of the nostalgia it evokes, I think it's equally suitable for a younger audience (middle school or thereabouts). Though they may not connect with some of the historical or pop culture references, they will certainly relate to the angst and confusion and joy of being a child regardless of the time period. Yes, the book is written in the sometimes irrelevant way most diaries are (as Sandy says, "Writing a book isn While a lot of reviews suggest that the 40 and up crew would enjoy this book because of the nostalgia it evokes, I think it's equally suitable for a younger audience (middle school or thereabouts). Though they may not connect with some of the historical or pop culture references, they will certainly relate to the angst and confusion and joy of being a child regardless of the time period. Yes, the book is written in the sometimes irrelevant way most diaries are (as Sandy says, "Writing a book isn’t like a jigsaw puzzle with right-or-wrong pieces that can only fit one way.") It all comes together in an emotionally satisfying way. The observations are smart and there's a lot to take away from this book, no matter your age. (My personal favorite is "Maybe the lesson is you should go ahead and dance down the steps whatever you look like, and if you’re enjoying yourself, that’s probably way better than being boring with a good figure." It's good advice!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    I wasn't too sure what to make of Mailbox when I first opened it as the format was one I was not accustomed to. I had never encountered a novel structured like this before. That being said, the originality was refreshing. Each chapter was short enough to make it easy to read, but long enough to make the stories entertaining nonetheless. As for the content, the book was a really pleasant read and was overall insightful. As a young reader, I read this book searching for a bit of guidance and reass I wasn't too sure what to make of Mailbox when I first opened it as the format was one I was not accustomed to. I had never encountered a novel structured like this before. That being said, the originality was refreshing. Each chapter was short enough to make it easy to read, but long enough to make the stories entertaining nonetheless. As for the content, the book was a really pleasant read and was overall insightful. As a young reader, I read this book searching for a bit of guidance and reassurance. That is exactly what I found in Mailbox. The book highlights values and principles that we discover as we come of age, and it is nice to be reminded of these essentials as we get distracted by our other troubles in life. All of this is presented in a manner that is lighthearted and nostalgic, which makes it all the more pleasant of a read. Highly recommended.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Helen Marquis

    All through this book I found myself trying to work out who it was aimed at. On getting to the end of it, I noticed in the topics for discussion section at the back that the question was posed there as well - is it for a YA audience or for a grown up one? Sadly I don't think it really works for either. For the YA audience, it's a weird historical look at childhood, told in short passages, but which only has a passing relevance to the youth of today. It comes from an era before mobile phones, com All through this book I found myself trying to work out who it was aimed at. On getting to the end of it, I noticed in the topics for discussion section at the back that the question was posed there as well - is it for a YA audience or for a grown up one? Sadly I don't think it really works for either. For the YA audience, it's a weird historical look at childhood, told in short passages, but which only has a passing relevance to the youth of today. It comes from an era before mobile phones, computers and 24/7 connectivity, so bullies can be fought with fists and boys anonymously called to rate a group of girls so they can work out who fancies whom. For the adult audience, it's awkwardly childlike in its tone, leaving me feeling like I shouldn't really be reading the personal thoughts of a young girl - a bit like a parent reading their child's diary. Not for me at all. Sorry.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Becky Yamarik

    This was a terrific account of a tween girl growing up in the 1970s. It completely reminded me of my own childhood and I'm not one that usually reads YA. . . but this book has these disparate chapters about all kinds of different topics and it all comes together to form a story. Some of the chapters are episodes of her life, others are her views on things, like Ex-president Nixon, a list of things that should happen at slumber parties, her mom's advice about elevator perverts, it's hilarious! bu This was a terrific account of a tween girl growing up in the 1970s. It completely reminded me of my own childhood and I'm not one that usually reads YA. . . but this book has these disparate chapters about all kinds of different topics and it all comes together to form a story. Some of the chapters are episodes of her life, others are her views on things, like Ex-president Nixon, a list of things that should happen at slumber parties, her mom's advice about elevator perverts, it's hilarious! but also moving and real . . . the voice of the young girl was very believable and rang true. Loved this book!!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hayley

    I was given a free copy of this book by NetGalley, in return for an honest review. This was a really enjoyable book, it really took me back to being a child, which was lovley. It actually felt like I was reading a Judy Blume book again. The protagonist Sandy finds a typwritter at her dads office and decides to write, what is essentially a diary, about her day to day life, thoughts and feelings over the course of a few years. I enjoyed the book, it was something totally different, and I found Sand I was given a free copy of this book by NetGalley, in return for an honest review. This was a really enjoyable book, it really took me back to being a child, which was lovley. It actually felt like I was reading a Judy Blume book again. The protagonist Sandy finds a typwritter at her dads office and decides to write, what is essentially a diary, about her day to day life, thoughts and feelings over the course of a few years. I enjoyed the book, it was something totally different, and I found Sandy to be a really smart girl. The stories were a mixture of funny and a few sad, but always interesting and entertaining.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lata Tokhi

    You are going to be addicted if you love simple, old-fashioned fun. The book is about a 10 year old's journey of self-discovery of how the world around her works. How her little brain understands the truths about religion, adjusts to the way grown-ups behave or reacts to scantily dressed performers at an opera is precious! Your 10 year old daughter might not make much of it but you will...and she will too, when she is grown up enough to look back at her life as a 10 year old. Be prepared for ple You are going to be addicted if you love simple, old-fashioned fun. The book is about a 10 year old's journey of self-discovery of how the world around her works. How her little brain understands the truths about religion, adjusts to the way grown-ups behave or reacts to scantily dressed performers at an opera is precious! Your 10 year old daughter might not make much of it but you will...and she will too, when she is grown up enough to look back at her life as a 10 year old. Be prepared for plenty of smiling to yourself.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ilonita50

    I received this book for an honest review. The story is about a 12 year old girl who lives in 1970's, Usa. It literary felt as someone has taken a diary from that time and is presenting it. It is focused on language, word meaning and adapted to the point of view of a 12 year old. Some wise and good examples! I did enjoy but I also found it slow at the times. I wonder about the Mailbox chapter as if I was the one to choose the title of the book it would be from chapter called Lemonade Stand with a I received this book for an honest review. The story is about a 12 year old girl who lives in 1970's, Usa. It literary felt as someone has taken a diary from that time and is presenting it. It is focused on language, word meaning and adapted to the point of view of a 12 year old. Some wise and good examples! I did enjoy but I also found it slow at the times. I wonder about the Mailbox chapter as if I was the one to choose the title of the book it would be from chapter called Lemonade Stand with all the red sneakers. Its interesting read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kwesiga

    Does anyone love adventure? Anyone? I love adventure and I enjoyed reading the book. Sandra is young, curious and is on the go to tackle adulthood. She more or less relates to most teenagers. Nancy did a great job in making the book approachable. The theme of coming of age will never grow old. Whether Sandra grew up in the 70's or in the 21 st century. Every child has to grow up at some point. Does anyone love adventure? Anyone? I love adventure and I enjoyed reading the book. Sandra is young, curious and is on the go to tackle adulthood. She more or less relates to most teenagers. Nancy did a great job in making the book approachable. The theme of coming of age will never grow old. Whether Sandra grew up in the 70's or in the 21 st century. Every child has to grow up at some point.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Franny Burd

    *Disclaimer: I was provided an ARC by the publisher for a fair and honest review. Freund has perfectly captured the voice of a young teen girl coming of age in the 70's. I was able to relate particularly well, since I was the age of the main character when the news items mentioned in the book actually occurred, and the reactions are authentic and well-written. *Disclaimer: I was provided an ARC by the publisher for a fair and honest review. Freund has perfectly captured the voice of a young teen girl coming of age in the 70's. I was able to relate particularly well, since I was the age of the main character when the news items mentioned in the book actually occurred, and the reactions are authentic and well-written.

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