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It can't be a coincidence that Great-Aunt Grace's initials spell GAG. Treasure knows it's the beginning of a disaster when her mother leaves her in Black Lake, Virginia for the summer. She'll be happy to move on as soon as her parents find a new place to live. But somehow, despite everything from Vacation Bible School catastrophes to cleaning every inch of GAG's candy store, Black Lake turns out to be hard to hate -- and it just might be the perfect place for Treasure's family after all.
— From The Perfect Place
Treasure’s dad has disappeared and her mom sets out to track him down, leaving twelve-year-old Treasure and her little sister, Tiffany, in small-town Virginia with their eccentric, dictatorial Great-Aunt Grace. GAG (as the girls refer to her) is a terrible cook, she sets off Treasure’s asthma with her cat and her chain smoking, and her neighbors suspect her in the recent jewel thefts. As the hope of finding their dad fades, the girls and their great-aunt begin to understand and accommodate one another. When a final dash to their dad’s last known address proves unsuccessful, Treasure has to accept that he’s gone for good. When she goes back to Great-Aunt Grace’s, it is the first time she has returned to a place instead of just moving on. Convincing, fully realized characters, a snarky narrative voice, and laugh-aloud funny dialogue make The Perfect Place a standout among stories of adjustment and reconfigured families.
About the Author
Teresa E. Harris earned her bachelor's degree in English from Columbia University and an MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College, where she won numerous awards.
"Though good family-in-transition stories are not rare, ones that authentically portray an African American experience are, and readers will find this one pretty near perfect."
"Harris weaves humor, a light mystery, and a tender coming-of-age story in this unforgettable novel."
—School Library Journal
"Readers will find sly humor here as well as the pleasure of seeing justice done on several levels. A satisfying first novel with a realistic but heartening ending."
"The small-town dynamics draw on recognizable characters without becoming stereotypes; Great-Aunt Grace, for instance, is full of surprises. Treasure herself is a resourceful and mature sixth-grader who stands up for herself and earns the well-deserved respect of the adults in her life."