Theodora Tenpenny has a lot of responsibility on her thirteen-year-old shoulders. Her brilliant but unstable mother lives almost entirely in her own head, working for more than a decade on a doctoral dissertation she will never finish. When Theodora’s grandfather — the family’s sole means of support— dies unexpectedly, he leaves her $463 and a cryptic message to “look under the egg.” This leads her to a painting that provides more questions than answers. As Theodora tries to keep herself and her mother fed, clothed, and sheltered, she and her friend Bodhi embark on a search all over New York City to discover the painting’s origin, amassing a fascinating and varied research team as they go. The painting is eventually revealed to have been smuggled out of Europe by a Jewish girl during World War II.
Theodora’s persistence and pluck make her a very appealing protagonist. Readers will root for her to succeed in her quest, and librarians and teachers will love Theodora and Bodhi’s creativity in identifying research sources to answer their questions about the painting.
Highly recommended for ages 10 – 15.
- Bad Girls by Yolem and Stemple
- Deadly by Julia Chibbaro
- Young Adult Summer Reads for Jewish Teenage Girls