Twelve-year-old Dana Shannon is not excited to spend her summer helping her parents remodel their “new”  over 100 year old home.  But when she starts to strip away wallpaper in an upstairs parlor, she discovers a hidden room — complete with a human skeleton! Dana finds a diary in the room, and begins to learn the answers to her many questions:  Who was the skeleton?  Why were they sealed up in that room?  How did they die? Amazing discoveries about the house, the family who lived there, and the underground railroad make this the most exciting summer of Dana’s life!

Sissy:  I picked Steal Away Home by Lois Ruby as my Friday Favorite for two reasons:  1. Though the target audience for this book is much younger than what we usually review for, I found it to be well written with a good story line and plenty engaging enough for me. 2. Two of my mom’s friends gave her this book when she first got sick with cancer and they inscribed it with a nice note including wishes that she get better soon (she never did).  She really liked the story and was distracted from her painful situation for a few sweet hours by it.  She then passed it on to my younger daughter.  So, there you have it.

Bubby: I can’t imagine finding a human skeleton in my house! I once found a skeleton of a small dinosaur (or rodent) when we remodeled our home as a child and that was enough for me. Whenever I read about the horrors of slavery I just can’t hardly believe that people can be so stupid and inhumane as to doubt the value of someone else’s life. Ridiculous. I am grateful to be living in a time where the color of someone’s skin has nothing to do with the value of their existence.

Sissy: I so much admire the people who participated in the underground railroad and were willing to put their own lives and the lives of their families in danger for the greater good of humanity. I hope that I would have not been too frightened to have done the same. I can imagine myself being terrified but hopefully a higher power sustains and encourages those who decide to do the right thing.

Bubby: On a lighter note, I can remember reading this years ago and liking it. What I didn’t remember is all the hijinks Dana and her friends get up to. Witholding evidence from the police? Watching horror movies (with equal numbers of boys and girls at age 12) and breaking into abandoned houses? I guess once you have children your viewpoint changes drastically. I found myself appalled more than once! (Yes, I am THAT MOM – my kids call me the Psycho Stalker Mom because I have to know everything about everyone always).

Sissy: While I am the mom who keeps forgetting the rules I’ve already set – but it’s ok because my kids keep them anyway, and I always pretend I am on the ball, so they don’t realize what they could get away with if they were evil miscreants. It’s mostly a moot point now anyway as I have only one minor left in my brood, and he gets in trouble for trying to get over 100% in his classes (can you just hear me saying “Young man, you will be satisfied with that 98% or you are grounded!).  I shall not complain.

Bubby: Yes, your kids are pretty dang awesome. Mine too.

Sissy: This book translated well to the adult audience for me because Lois Ruby is funny  and witty. The story could have gotten all bogged down with heavy subject matter and rhetoric but she managed to address a fairly serious topic in a balanced way.

Bubby: I agree. Good choice this week, Sissy. I give Steal Away Home 4 bubbles.

Sissy: I agree with your agreement, Bubby. 4 bubbles for me too.

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