Sophie and Sam Shattenberg are two Jewish sisters from Queens, New York. Both love knishes and kosher pickles. Both have said "I’m wawkin’ here!" to cab drivers—and meant it. When the unthinkable happens and their father dies, the girls are devastated. Desperate to get away from their greedy stepmother, they withdraw their father’s money from the bank, pick up fake IDs, and hit the road. All is well until their car breaks down outside of Venice, Indiana, a town so isolated that the mechanic tells them, "You could get lost here forever." Which is exactly what they decide to do....
Sam and Sophie arrive in the small town of Venice, decide to stay, and try to blend in. They get jobs, make friends, and practice "talking the talk" instead of "tawking the tawk." Then the most popular girl in town—the queen of the upcoming Rose Festival—disappears. The sisters were the last people to see her and so become prime suspects. Sophie and Sam realize that they’re going to have to find the missing girl themselves if they want to clear their names. Even if their names are fake....
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M. E. Rabb is a fresh voice in teen fiction. She has had numerous stories published in Seventeen magazine as well as in the Atlantic Monthly, Zoetrope, and the Chicago Review.From Booklist:
Reviewed with M. E. Rabb's The Chocolate Lover.
Gr. 7-10. The first titles in the new Missing Persons mystery series introduce teen orphans Samantha and Sophie Shattenberg, sisters who flee their Queens, New York, home after their father's death to escape their stepmother, who intends to abscond with the family money and ship Sophie off to boarding school. A few felonies later (fake documentation; funds illegally transferred from their father's account), the girls settle into a new life, and new identities, in tiny Venice, Indiana. In The Rose Queen, the girls become prime suspects in the disappearance of an obnoxious local beauty queen and crack the case to clear their names. That success turns into jobs with the local PI, and in Chocolate Lover, they connect art stolen during the Holocaust with its missing owner while exploring their own family tree. Although Rabb indulges in a few small-town stereotypes, she creates breezy, compelling mysteries that can be read as stand-alone titles. More interesting, though, are the deeper identity struggles of the likable sisters, who cherish their New York Jewish roots even as they try to live (and fall in love) while masquerading as young, midwestern gentiles. Gillian Engberg
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