The Buzz About Peeled
"Vintage Bauer, a warm and funny story full of likable, offbeat characters led by a strongly voiced, independently minded female protagonist on her way to genuine, well-earned maturity...A-peeling all around!" School Library Journal
"Sharp pacing and an intriguing premise... Bauer renders a fully realized portrait of a small town dependent on an ever-fragile economy and threatened by modern encroachment. As always, she stocks her work with strong, sage women, the elements for a budding romance, and plenty of funny moments. But it's Hildy readers will remember longest, a smart girl who realistically blends the spunkiness, brains and good humor that is Bauer's stock-in-trade."
Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Wonderfully teachable, highly readable, and ready to delight Bauer fans, old and new." VOYA-highlighted review
"Hildy's crisp, declarative narration, subtly emulating a journalistic style, sings with tart humor and quixotic purpose." Horn Book
"Highly entertaining." Kirkus
- As a high-school journalist, Hildy Biddle tries to cut the fluff. Can she discover the truth about bad events in "The Happiest Town in the Happy Apple Valley"? Is there a curse, or is it just a bad year for apples? Hildy is not a distanced teen-she cares about the farms and the families-and she is strong and funny. In Hildy's words: " 'Teenagers are like bees at night, I think. We don't like waking up and we don't always get with the program immediately, but once we figure out our mission, we'll see it through.' " Chicago Tribune
- "A winsome entry into issues of journalistic free speech and the impact of sensationalism in the media..." School Library Journal-Curriculum Connections
Joan Bauer on Peeled
YOU'VE DESCRIBED PEELED AS A KIND OF WAR STORY. WHAT DO YOU MEAN?
One of the things I tried to show in Peeled is how words have such
power for good or for bad. Hildy enters a kind of war of words --
she's trying to find and write the truth, while frightening slogans,
headlines, and signs are being displayed all around town.
PEELED HAS A MYSTERY ANGLE TO IT. HOW WAS WRITING PEELED DIFFERENT
THAN WRITING YOUR OTHER NOVELS?
I found writing an actual mystery to be very difficult at first. In
some ways, I believe, all novels are mysteries in that the author
leaves clues for the readers about the story and the characters. But
plotting an actual mystery challenged me. When I write I'm not always
sure where the story is going, but with a mystery, you have to know in
advance and lay down those clues, so I was forced to think a great
deal about plot early on. Once I did, though, I had great fun
thinking through all the elements of intrigue and misrepresentation.
I found out that I'm much sneakier than I actually knew! I had great
fun crafting Hildy Biddle's character and realized about midway into
the writing that part of the way she learns is through trial and error
as a journalist, so I have her growth as a journalist intersecting
with the growth of the fear happening in town. I found that to be a
fascinating way to develop the plot.
IN PEELED, HILDY FINDS INSPIRATION AS A JOURNALIST FROM HER
LATE FATHER, OFTEN WRITING TO MAKE HIM PROUD. AS AN AUTHOR,
WHO ARE YOUR INSPIRATIONS?
My grandmother is an enduring inspiration to me -- she was a
storyteller, quite famous in her day, and knew how to tell a story
that could make people laugh and cry while poking gentle
fun at the world's absurdities. As a writer, one novel has inspired
me more than any other --
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I still go back to
that story to learn how
to create memorable characters and put them in a setting that will
stand the test of time.
as being inspired by journalists, I grew up in Chicago and was a huge
Mike Royko fan (he wrote for the Sun Times and the Chicago Tribune).
Royko was tough and funny and that
combination really caused his voice to be heard. I was greatly
inspired as a young adult by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward's
investigative reporting at the Washington Post during the Watergate
years. What a time that was in our country, and these two young
out the biggest political story of the decade and ran with it against
the odds. I suppose I gave some of their courage to Hildy Biddle, my
sixteen-year-old reporter in Peeled.
- Why do you think that publishing the truth is so important to
Hildy? Can you think of an instance in the real world where false
reporting led to unexpected consequences?
- What does Hildy see in Zack that she doesn't see
in Lev or Nathan?
Why do you think she's so hesitant about getting involved with him
- One of the lessons that Minska teaches Hildy is about the harmful
effects of propaganda. What examples of propaganda do we see in the
novel? How does this affect morale in Banesville?
- Baker tells Hildy that "the future of the world depends on how many
people are mature enough to be nonconformists." Do you think that
it's responsible or appropriate for an adult mentor to be teaching his
students to revolt? Why or why not?
Baker Polton's Rules of Good Journalism
- Don't shortchange an interview. Ask all the questions you can--you never know what might come out!
- Keep good eye contact. It shows confidence.
- Confirm everything--during the first twenty-four hours of any breaking story, about half the facts are wrong.
- Less is more--less description, more facts. Only describe it if it means something.
- If you don't take yourself seriously, the person you're interviewing won't either.
- If it ever gets easy, do something else!
The truth is worth