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Eleven
Cover of Eleven
Eleven
A Mystery
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Sam is almost 11 when he discovers a locked box in the attic above his grandfather Mack's room, and a piece of paper that says he was kidnapped. There are lots of other words, but Sam has always had...
Sam is almost 11 when he discovers a locked box in the attic above his grandfather Mack's room, and a piece of paper that says he was kidnapped. There are lots of other words, but Sam has always had...
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Description-

  • Sam is almost 11 when he discovers a locked box in the attic above his grandfather Mack's room, and a piece of paper that says he was kidnapped. There are lots of other words, but Sam has always had trouble reading. He's desperate to find out who he is, and if his beloved Mack is really his grandfather. At night he's haunted by dreams of a big castle and a terrifying escape on a boat. Who can he trust to help him read the documents that could unravel the mystery? Then he and the new girl, Caroline, are paired up to work on a school project, building a castle in Mack's woodworking shop. Caroline loves to read, and she can help. But she's moving soon, and the two must hurry to discover the truth about Sam.

    From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    Never mind being afraid of eleven right now. Tomorrow was his birthday. And where had they hidden his presents? Sam hadn't found a single one yet. He'd checked every drawer, every cabinet, under the beds, and even outside in the shed.
    Only one place was left to search.
    Could he do it?
    He was skinny but tough. Of course he could.
    He didn't bother with socks, just sneakers, and pulled on his jacket over his pajamas. He lifted his bedroom window that was two stories up, squinted out at the dark world, and felt for the pipe against the wall.
    It was a crazy way to get to the attic, but the only way tonight. The attic _pull-_down door was in his grandfather's room next to his, and Mack was sound asleep by now.
    Sam grinned; he pictured himself hopping around on Mack's bed, yanking down the overhead door, which would graze Mack's nose while Sam boosted himself up to the attic.
    "What? What?" Mack would mutter in his sleep.
    A riot. Too bad it had to be the pipe.
    Sam swung himself out the window and gripped the pipe with his hands and knees. It was colder than he expected, icy. Imagine if Mack awoke in the morning to see him plastered to the side of the house, frozen solid.
    He inched his way up to the attic window. Below, just beyond the shed, was the river, a narrow band of water; it slipped over the rocks, then swirled away so the rocks reappeared like turtle backs, shiny, ridged, and black.
    It made him dizzy to look down. He closed his eyes. People who drove along the road in front hardly realized that a finger of the Mohawk River bubbled along behind his building. All they saw were the windows of the three stores: Mack's Woodworking Shop; Onji's Deli; Kerala House, Anima's Indian restaurant; and their apartments above.
    Sam leaned his head against his raised arms and felt the stone wall with the tips of his sneakers.
    Maybe he should scramble back inside.
    No, he was tough.
    Slowly he turned his head; the pipe vibrated. Not a light on in any of the three apartment windows. They slept like hibernating bears.
    He boosted himself up a couple of feet. Night Cat was somewhere below, meowing up at him, Night Cat, ancient, crabby, waiting to be let in downstairs. "Wait a minute, will you?" he whispered. "You want to wake everyone?"
    He raised one hand to feel the blistered paint of the wooden sill, and stretched to press his palm against the attic window. It slid up easily under his hand. Lucky. He hadn't even thought it might be locked. He threw himself inside as the pipe swung wildly and the cat meowed below.
    Sam reached into his pocket for the flashlight and switched it on. He couldn't remember the last time he'd been up here. One Christmas he'd gone into Mack's room, climbed on the bed, and pulled down the attic door to peer up into the darkness. Mack had swung him off the bed, laughing. "How do you get yourself all over the place?"
    Sam's flashlight threw shadows across the floor in front of him. He angled it up: jackets on hooks that looked like old men in a row, a jumble of boots crisscrossed over each other, but nothing that looked like a birthday present.
    He tiptoed across the room; Mack was sleeping just below. Under the window was another box. Ah, maybe—
    Mack's presents were the best. But the box was metal and locked, too old to be interesting. He leaned over anyway, and spotted a newspaper clipping sticking out of the edge. He tugged at it but saw that it would rip before it cameloose.
    He crouched down: large black letters on top, a picture of a boy underneath. The nubby sweater with the zipper down the front looked familiar.
    He caught his breath. He was the boy, but so much...

About the Author-

  • Patricia Reilly Giff is the author of many beloved books for children, including the Newbery Honor books, Lily's Crossing and Pictures of Hollis Woods. She lives in Trumbull, Connecticut.

Reviews-

  • DOGO Books Real Slim Shady - This book was amazing!! the person bellow me i think they read a different book. it was an exciting mystery about a boy and his past. He can't read the papers his grandfather had in his attic. was he stolen? kidnapped? he doesn't know. maybe someone can help him....
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 19, 2007
    The day before he turns 11, Sam searches the attic for hidden birthday presents and discovers more than he bargained for: a newspaper clipping showing a photograph of him as a missing child. In this exquisitely rendered story of self-discovery, Giff (Lily’s Crossing
    ) creates what she calls a “jig-saw puzzle” of a book, showing readers how Sam pieces together artifacts and his own flashbacks to find out whether Mack, the man he has lived with for as long as he can remember, really is his grandfather. Learning the truth requires research, and Sam, a special-needs student who has trouble reading, solicits help from Caroline, a new girl at school. As they embark on two projects—building a medieval castle for social studies and solving the mystery of Sam’s past—they also construct a solid friendship, despite Caroline’s parents’ plans for another, imminent move. Although the premise echoes that of Caroline Cooney’s The Face on the Milk Carton
    , the similarity ends there. Evoking an entirely different mood and set of circumstances, this intimate story realistically examines friendship, family secrets and the struggles of a learning-disabled child trying to make sense of the world. Given the author’s expertise at developing sympathetic characters and creating a suspenseful plot, readers will find the complexity of Sam’s vulnerabilities to be as intriguing as the unfolding enigma of his past. Ages 8-13.

  • School Library Journal

    January 1, 2008
    Gr 5-7-Sam is haunted by the symbolism of the number "11." Just two straight lines he reasonscould be a number of a street address, two straight trees against the sky or, maybe, two towering spires of a castle. His upcoming 11th birthday nudges him; there's something he's forgotten. Searching the attic for hidden birthday presents, he uncovers a secret that overshadows his irrational fear of "11." A newspaper clipping reveals his three-year-old face. Sam sounds out one word, "Missing," but he can't read the other clues. Suddenly his daily frustration turns consuming. Sam is smart and creative. He's learned to compensate for his dyslexia. "Caroline New Girl" is a "reader," and when it's time to pick partners for the class project on medieval times, he chooses her. "One thing].Don't think I'm going to be friends. I won't be here long enough," she warns. The two strike up a friendship of convenience that develops into a genuine bond of support, respect, and acceptance. But with his newfound friendship come suspicions about his loving Grandpa. Sadly, it's Grandpa's guilt over innocent mistakes that gives power to the secrets. The unraveling of Sam's mysterious past will intrigue readers. Children will appreciate the fast friendships, their caregivers' motives, and the struggles of the underdog. Sam, Caroline, and Grandpa ring true with realistically conflicting and unsettling emotions. Set in the western part of northern New York against a rich backdrop of geographic detail and cultural diversity, this novel will be thoroughly enjoyed."Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY"

    Copyright 2008 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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