Title: The Wig In The Window
Author: Kristen Kittscher
Publication Date: June 2013
Genre: Middle Grade Mystery
Synopsis can be found here.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Grace and Sophie- two peas in a pod.
Best friends till the end.
And now, partners in crime!
One night during their sleuthing, things get real! And Sophie and Grace stumble upon a mystery that could put them both in danger. Something is off about Dr. Agford, the school counselor. And it’s up for Sophie and Grace to figure it out.
Can they solve the mystery before they lose the most important things of all- their friendship and possibly their lives?
So I should probably start off with the fact that I know the author. We’re friends. And now, after reading The Wig In The Window, I’m a fan. A huge fan.
Grace and Sophie come alive on the pages. Their mannerisms and easy going dialogue flow naturally and showcase the best and sometimes, worst parts of each other. I love Grace’s sharpness and fearlessness and Sophie’s vulnerability and self doubt. They are a perfect pair, balancing each other out in the best ways possible.
The mystery is a fun ride with a lot of twists and turns. Seriously, I was reading and thought a couple of times I knew what was going on, only to be surprised!
And while the mystery is intriguing, and moves along quickly, that’s not the real reason I love this book.
It’s the heart.
It’s Sophie’s heart, Grace’s heart. Their friendship and devotion to one another. All friendships are tested and Kittscher does a great job of writing authentic challenges that any friendship will encounter, and hopefully overcome.
I’m excited to read the sequel!
Author Interview with Kristen Kittscher
What inspired you to become a writer?
I’d long wanted to write—really as long as I can remember—but I lacked the confidence and was too practical to dare. I thought writing was something only mythical, supremely talented beings could pursue, so I did things tangentially related to writing instead. I worked in Hollywood as a story editor, then as a 7th grade English teacher for several years. It was after I read a book a student loaned me, Kirsten Miller’s Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City, that it occurred to me how much fun it would be to write something for the funny, precocious students I loved teaching. I admired her high-stakes and the way she avoided condescending to her readers; it inspired me to give writing a shot! It wasn’t until I took an online writing course and connected with other writers that I realized writing a book was something mere mortals with a little passion could accomplish, as well.
What was the last book you read?
The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman by Meg Wolitzer. Everyone’s reading her latest for adults,The Interestings – but I felt like checking out this rare middle grade book. It so happens that, like Wig, it deals with some friendship angst, as well!
What sparked the idea of your book?
I stumbled across some (heavily autobiographical!) old snippets of a free-writing exercises in which an adult main character reminisces about her time as a childhood spy. It was fun stuff—and I wondered what it might sound like from a kid’s point of view. I scrawled a note then: “Nancy Drew meets Rear Window?” and further down on the page, another, “cozy mystery for kids.” As a longtime seventh grade English teacher, I’d always been impressed by how well kids’ root out adult hypocrisy—so I knew I wanted to create a potential villain that exemplified that falseness. Enter school counselor Dr. Charlotte Agford and her eau de Lysol perfume.
Sophie and Grace are best friends.
What are your favorite things about Sophie and Grace’s friendship?
What a good question! I especially enjoy their wit and wise-cracking when all is going well with their sleuthing—and the way they work as a team when the chips are really down.
Did you want to be a sleuth like Sophie and Grace when you were young?
I didn’t want to be a real spy; I’m far too cowardly for that. However, my childhood friend and I spent a good deal of time pretending our neighbors were dangerous criminals. Didn’t everybody? Our games were more about drawing posters and writing up fake “case files” than actual spying, however.
What came first: the friendship between Sophie and Grace or the mystery? And how did one impact the other as you were writing?
The two really came together as a package. The book started with Sophie’s voice – with this precocious, insecure 12-year-old telling the story of her spy-adventures-gone-terribly-wrong with a friend she idolized. Once I had that voice down, the plot could follow.
How do you like your potato?
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
I have a fantasy of being a rare books dealer. Can I do both?
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Oh, I dabble in a little neighborhood crime-fighting. No big deal. Undercover stuff, really. Very hush hush. And when I’m not unmasking villains? I’m usually off hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains with my crazy dog. I can’t figure out whether it’s a terrible thing for a writer to have a dog that needs hours of exercise or a good one—it is certainly never a bad idea to be forced to get away from the computer, that’s for sure.
What are you working on now?
A sequel to WIG is slated: The Tiara on the Terrace. In it, Young & Yang go undercover Miss Congeniality-style in their town parade’s “Royal Court” to stop a murderer. It’s very loosely based on the Tournament of Roses here in Pasadena; it’s such a rich, fun setting, and I’m enjoying slipping in a bit more Pasadena flavor into “Luna Vista,” my sleuths’ fictional town.
Thanks so much for having me at The Windy Pages! I really appreciate the chance to shout from the rooftops about my debut! Hope people will enjoy “wigging out” over Young & Yang’s hijinks.
Thank you for stopping by Kristen!
I love the book and you can follow Kristen here on her website.
Buy the book here!
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