Category Archives: Surry

Surry

Lisa Ann Scott. School of Charm. New York: Katherine Tegen Books, 2014.

school of charmEleven-year-old Brenda Anderson, better known as Chip, has always been a daddy’s girl. After Daddy dies, Chip, her mom and two sisters must move down south to their grandmother’s house in Mount Airy, North Carolina. When her grandmother greets the group in high heels and pearls, Chip just knows she doesn’t fit in with this family of Southern belles. Grandmother Nancy was Miss North Carolina in 1939 and Chip’s mother was runner-up in 1961. Though Chip’s sisters, Charlene and Ruthie weren’t born in the South, the two are budding Southern belles themselves. They will both enter the Miss Dogwood 1977 pageant in the Miss and Little Miss divisions respectively.

Preferring to climb trees, work in the garden and save animals, Chip believes that she has nothing in common with her family. While out exploring the area, in order to escape from all the pageant plans in the house, Chip sees a sign for Miss Vernie’s School of Charm. She ventures in to discover whether this charm school is for magic or for beauty. Miss Vernie gives a confusing answer, but Chip decides to join anyway. Having been given a charm bracelet that must be worn at all times, Chip starts to think that she’s come to the wrong place for her.

However, Chip reconsiders when she meets her classmates, Dana and Karen, and they all get to work cleaning bird feeders. Dana and Karen are at the school because they are entering the Miss Dogwood pageant. Constantly clashing with her grandmother leads Chip to consider entering the pageant herself, in order to become a brand-new Brenda who does fit in with her family. But, telling her family that she’s joined the pageant only gets her laughed at. Will brand-new Brenda be able to show her family that she is one of them? Which Anderson sister will bring home a crown? And is there hope for peace between nature-loving tomboy Chip and her pageant loving, bird-killing grandmother Nancy?

School of Charm is a young adult novel. But, this tale of a young daddy’s girl who has just lost her father and must now relearn how she fits into the family will touch the heart of any reader, whether younger or older.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Children & Young Adults, Mountains, Scott, Lisa Ann, Surry

Cameron Kent. The Road to Devotion. Winston-Salem, NC: Press 53, 2009.

Transition is rapidly occurring on the Talton farm in 1860 Winston, North Carolina. Miles Talton, the patriarch, has just passed away, leaving his strong-willed daughter, Sarah, in charge. However, the farm is failing, requiring her to sell slaves and acres to survive. Also changing is Sarah’s perception of slavery as she befriends Jacquerie, a Louisiana runaway who ends up on the Talton farm. Jacquerie’s knowledge of the French language makes her valuable as she is the only mode of communication for Sarah and her beau, wealthy French businessman Edouard LeGare. Finally, the onset of the Civil War is transforming the country. As Sarah and her community adjust to the changes, she learns the importance of staying true to herself, even if others do not understand her.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Forsyth, Historical, Kent, Cameron, Piedmont, Surry

Lynn York. The Piano Teacher. New York: Plume, 2004.

Miss Wilma, the longtime piano teacher in the fictional small town of Swan’s Knob, N.C. (based on the author’s hometown of Pilot Mountain), lives a life of quiet routine until her rebellious daughter Sarah shows up on her doorstep. It turns out the excitement is only beginning, as Sarah is followed by her ex- husband and her current boyfriend. When a local police officer is murdered, the attention of the town turns quickly toward the new arrivals. The story is told from several points of view, including those of Miss Wilma and of Roy Swann, an aging, affable bachelor who has had his eye on the prickly piano teacher for years.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC Library Catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2004, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Surry, York, Lynn

Mark Slouka. God’s Fool. New York: Knopf, 2002.

Chang and Eng Bunker, the famous nineteenth-century conjoined twins from Siam (hence the term “Siamese twins”) are the subject of this novel. The brothers’ colorful life story is told from the viewpoint of Chang, following them all over the world, from Siam to Paris to stints in P.T. Barnum’s sideshows before they settle down to a quiet life in rural North Carolina. Slouka pays close attention to historical detail and portrays the brothers not as mere curiosities but as human beings, writing near the end of the novel about the close relationship between Chang and one of his sons.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC Library Catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2002, Docufiction, Historical, Slouka, Mark, Surry

Elizabeth Flock. Me & Emma. Mira Books, 2005.

Carrie Parker, the eight-year-old narrator of this novel, does not have an easy life. She and her sister Emma live in a poor family in Toast, N.C. Their father has recently passed away and their new stepfather is abusive to both girls, becoming especially violent when drunk. Carrie’s mother sees the problems, but can’t afford to leave, and the girls are left with seemingly nowhere else to turn.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC Library Catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2005, Flock, Elizabeth, Surry