Book: The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place

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Book:

The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place

Author: E.L. Konigsburg
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Publisher: Atheneum

The summer she’s twelve—the same year that Cabbage Patch dolls are popular, that Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space, that El Niño affects weather patterns worldwide and causes disasters on almost every continent of the planet Earth—Margaret Rose Kane must confront a catastrophe brewing in her own backyard.

Freshly rescued from a miserable experience at Camp Talequa, where she was housed with seven cruel cabin mates, Margaret is looking forward to spending the rest of her summer with her beloved great-uncles, Morris and Alexander. Little does she know, the Uncles themselves are in need of a rescue.

For the last forty-five years, the Uncles have been building three giant towers in their backyard from scrap metal and shards of glass and porcelain. But now, bowing to pressures from some powerful home owners, the towers have been declared a blight on the neighborhood. Even worse, the city council has voted to have them destroyed.

Margaret Rose is outraged. She knows the towers for what they truly are: irreplaceable works of art. To Margaret, the towers sing. They sing of the joy of making something big and beautiful out of bits and pieces; of integrity; but perhaps most important of all, they sing of history. And Margaret Rose is determined to make sure they always will.

This companion story to the acclaimed Silent to the Bone is a rousing tale of art, history, and the fierce preservation of individuality, as only the incomparable E. L. Konigsburg could write it.

Reviews

Amazon.com

Twelve year old Margaret Rose Kane is incorrigible. Not only does she refuse to bend to the will of her manipulative cabin mates at Camp Talequa, she stands up to and inadvertently insults the camp director and Queen-in-residence, Mrs. Kaplan. The intimidating and cruel confrontations that threaten to break Margaret’s spririt only serve to strengthen her resolve, and everyone is happy when Margaret is finally banished/rescued from Camp Talequa. Luckily for her, with her parents in Peru, this means she can spend the rest of the summer with her delightfully eccentric Hungarian great-uncles, Alexander and Morris Rose. Margaret adores her great-uncles, and loves the house at 19 Schuyler Place—especially the three peculiar clock towers (tall painted structures covered in pendants made from broken china, crystal, bottles, jars, and clock parts) that the Rose brothers have been building for as long as she can remember. For Margaret and the Rose brothers, the towers represent beauty for beauty’s sake—they sparkle in the sun and sing in the wind—they exist only to spread joy. Not everyone loves the towers however, and forty-five years after the birth of the project, the city council declares the towers “unsafe,” and demands that they be dismantled and destroyed. Filled with the same fiery resolve that helped her survive Camp Talequa, Margaret (with the help of a handyman named Jake, a loyal dog named Tartufo, and few other unexpected allies) launches a plan to save the towers in the name of art, history, and beauty.

A companion novel to the award-winning author’s acclaimed Silent to the Bone, Outcasts is strikingly unique, incredibly interesting, and, with references to “Bartleby the Scrivener”, and the rose windows of Notre Dame, exceptionally literary. In other words, The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place is vintage Konigsburg. This quirky masterpiece will be enjoyed by young fans of Konigsburg’s other erudite works, and Polly Horvath’s The Canning Season.. (Ages 10 and older)

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