Book #19 Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

Well, I figured I ought to read one of this years Booksense Book Of The Year winners before the national booksellers convention in less than a month. Heaven knows that I’ll have to do hand exercises before I can even lift Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, much less read it.

Chasing Vermeer is illustrated by Brett Helquist who I once briefly stalked until I discovered he lived in Brooklyn. As I’ve said about Ben Marcus, I would follow him to the ends of the earth, but I put my foot down at Brooklyn. Ew.

But I digress.

I’m smitten with Brett Helquist’s illustrations – especially when they’re of a raven curly haired girl in glasses. XO, Helquist, XO.

The book is now available in paperback, but if you buy it you simply MUST get the hardback. When you remove the lovely illustrated dust jacket, you find the two Vermeer paintings central to the plot of the novel are the cover art. (One on the front, and one on the back. No title or anything else marring the show.)

Although “Chasing Vermeer” isn’t the type of young adult novel that I most love, I can definitely see why it’s become so championed. It’s about two children who are new friends to each other who, through a series of puzzling “coincidences” piece together the mystery of a recently stolen priceless Vermeer painting. It’s well written and fun.

However, I must confess: puzzles bore me. Well, except for the one about people STILL wearing white jeans. That puzzle terrifies me to the very marrow of my bones.

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