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by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

January 16, 2019

Fool's Errand by Jenna Zark ~ a Review

by MK French

On Monday, I reviewed the first book in Jenna Zark's Beat Street series. Today, I'm sharing my thoughts on the second book - Fool's Errand.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

Fool's Errand
November 2018; Dragon Moon Press
978-1774000014; ebook, print (220 pages)
young adult, mystery
Ruby's best friend Sophie disappears in the midst of the Blacklist era in the 1950s. Sophie's mother, a comedy writer, is being targeted for possible associations with Communists, so they're on the run. Ruby won't abandon Sophie and does her best to find her and help however she can, even if it means leaving Greenwich Village and lying to her parents.

Instead of being a footnote, the Red Scare and the politics are now front and center for Ruby. She had previously only been concerned about what has directly affected her family, but now in this second book, the scope of her worry has extended to her best friend and their circumstances. We also see the beginnings of the Civil War era in family friends talking about the racial protests in the south and the very real dangers that they would be in if they traveled there to help. These are very big topics for a middle grader to have to deal with, and it was Real Life for the children in this time period.

Ruby is clever and determined, which carries over from the first novel very well. My daughter still felt connected to Ruby as a character and cared about what she was doing and how she was going to get to her friend Sophie. It's a convoluted kind of tale, and Ruby has a lot of good luck in getting where she needs to go. While it's probably a bit of writer's prerogative to get Ruby out to the midwest or down to DC, it also was within reason and not wholly out of character for her or others around her. Ruby had to grow up a lot over the course of this novel, especially in the second half of it, when Sophie's troubles really hits home for her.

This is another book that touches on so many topics that it can serve as a wonderful discussion source. Being part of the Beat generation is less central for this novel than the first one, but still comprises a large part of who Ruby is. She will do what's right, no matter the cost or what the establishment might think of it. That's amazing integrity and something that more children should develop.

Buy Fool's Errand at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

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