BOOKS of the week

Main Street: Welcome to Camden Falls; Needle and Thread

Sunday, June 24, 2007

This is a new series by the author of the popular "Baby-Sitters Club" books. "Welcome to Camden Falls" and "Needle and Thread" follow sisters Flora and Ruby as they move in with their grandmother after their parents are killed in a car accident.

Their new home in Camden Falls is perfect in many ways: Their grandmother is loving, and the people in the small town are welcoming. As Flora notes early on, she "was nothing . . . like the orphans she had read about. For starters, most of them were British. And when they began their new lives, horrible things happened to them." (Is Martin taking a shot at J.K. Rowling, Lemony Snicket or the authors of other other troubled-orphan books you might have read?)

But Flora and Ruby still face challenges. They must make new friends over the summer and get ready for a new school. ("Welcome to Camden Falls" covers the girls' summer; "Needle and Thread" follows them back to school.)

Ann Martin's writing style is perfect for summertime -- easy and unrushed. And the characters she creates in the sisters and their new friends, Olivia and Nikki, are likely to keep readers coming back to this series for a long time.

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