Title: The Wig in the Window (Young and Yang #1)
Author: Kristen Kittscher
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Publication date: 2013
Page count (hardback): 351
Best friends and seventh graders Sophie Young and Grace Yang have made a game out of spying on their neighbors. On one of their midnight stakeouts, they witness a terrifying, bloody scene at the home of their bizarre middle-school counselor, Dr. Charlotte Agford (aka Dr. Awkward).
At least, they think they do. The truth is that Dr. Agford was only making her famous pickled beets! But when Dr. Agford begins acting even weirder than usual, Sophie and Grace become convinced that she’s hiding something—and they’re determined to find out what it is.
Soon the girls are breaking secret codes, being followed by a strange blue car, and tailing strangers with unibrows and Texas accents. But as their investigation heats up, Sophie and Grace start to crack under the pressure. They might solve their case, but will their friendship survive?
Perfect for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Wig in the Window is a smart, funny middle-grade mystery with a REAR WINDOW twist ~ Goodreads
You’ve probrably noticed the new page that says Author Interview and that’s becasue I happened to email the author, Kristen Kitschier, asking for an interview and then she decided to make my day, and said YES!!!! So this is a review/interview post! Also, I first heard about this book from the awesome Cindy at Cindy Reads A Lot. You can see her review here
Ok, ON TO THE REVIEW!!! Can I start off by saying that the cover is sooo pretty? And awesome, and something I would definitely want on my shelf because *dramatic pause* it was SUPER awesome!!! It kept you guessing and the characters were super cool! It kept you on your toes and you NEVER knew the whole truth (unless you’re really good at solving mysteries) until BAM the ending where everything is revealed. It really had an emphasis on friendship and always sticking up for each other. And it leaves you wanting more, and guess what? There is more! Yup, The Tiara on the Terrace just came out about two months ago! Hooray!
Age recommendation: 9
“One minute you’re making fun of the old barbies on your shelf, and the next you’re co-hosting a wedding extravaganza for Barbie and Ken“
“Ten minutes,” I said.
“How about until we get caught and your parents disown you?”
“Our email link has been compromised.” I supposed that was one way of describing a confiscated laptop and a destroyed friendship.“
I’m not going to let the cat out of the bag, but it’s What Does the Cat Think?
I give this book 5 stars out 5!
The review ends here.
The interview starts here!
ME: When did you first start writing?
KRISTEN: I fell in love with writing when I was six years old. My family had moved to London and I attended a Catholic school where each week enthusiastic Sister Christina came to our class to lead us in creative writing exercises. I’d write stories about circus elephants and cats — and no matter what, she’d cheer me on. Though because I moved so much I couldn’t continue, that was really when I started imagining I could be a writer one day.
ME: What made you decide to become a author?
KRISTEN: Though I loved writing, my family was very practical: I never thought I could be an author. I did the next best thing and became a seventh grade English teacher. It wasn’t until my students inspired me to write stories for them that I gave writing a novels a go. I’m so grateful to them for the inspiration. I wouldn’t be doing this without them.
ME: The main character, Sophie, is really into Chinese culture. Why did you decide for her to be into Chinese culture?
KRISTEN: I live in Pasadena, California and many of my students are Chinese-American. Many of my students, too, were fascinated by cultures and backgrounds other than their own, no matter their own background. I wanted to explore the tension I saw sometimes when one kid was perhaps a bit too into a friend’s background and veered into cultural appropriation. I also wanted to reflect the reality of the diverse world I see around me.
ME: What inspired you to write The Wig in the Window?
KRISTEN: I was a child wanna be spy myself, so The Wig in the Window is directly inspired by my best friend’s and my experiences imagining our neighbors were up to no good! My main inspiration, though, were my own seventh grade students. They encourage me to write — and having a front row seat to the ups and downs of their social lives also helped me bring the often turbulent dynamics of middle school friendship to the page. I hope, at least!
ME: What is one of the hardest things about writing?
KRISTEN: It’s impossible to keep a full novel in one’s head at any time, so the hardest part is having the faith that you will be able to tell a coherent, moving story — with the help of revision. Because it takes a lot of time — and there’s a lot of lonely struggling — it can be hard to simply keep going to the end.
ME: Where do you prefer to write?
KRISTEN: I’m embarrassed to say I often write in bed on my laptop, even though I have a lovely office! Somehow I end up revising at my desk, but drafting lying down.
ME: If you could go into one book for a day, what book would it be?
KRISTEN: Oh dear — most books are far too exciting and dangerous and/or sad to want to actually be in! I think, though, it would be awfully fun to join Claudia and Jamie in From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and get stuck in the Met:-)
ME: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
KRISTEN: You’re not an “aspiring” writer if you’re writing and creating: you are already there. Treat yourself and your work with respect, even if others don’t believe in you early on. If you take yourself seriously, you will indeed finish work that you’ll be able to share with others! Focus on your craft and let everything else fade into the background, especially any negative thoughts you hear from others.
That’s it! I would like to thank Kristen for this amazing opportunity. I really, really, am sooo thankful. THANKS KRISTEN!
About Kristen Kittscher
KRISTEN KITTSCHER is a former middle school English teacher and author of tween mystery The Wig in the Window (Harper Children’s, 2013) which garnered a starred review from School Library Journal and was named to ten Best of the Year lists. The 2014 James Thurber House Children’s Writer-in-Residence and a graduate of Brown University, Kristen frequently presents at schools, libraries, and festivals. She lives with her husband in Pasadena, home of the Rose Parade—the inspiration for her most recent novel, The Tiara on the Terrace. Visit kristenkittscher.com or follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@kkittscher).
-from the author’s website