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The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place

Review

The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place

by

THE OUTCASTS OF 19 SCHUYLER PLACE is the follow-up to SILENT TO THE BONE by two-time Newbery Medal-winning author E.L. Konigsburg. Margaret Rose Kane tells the story of the summer when she was twelve, the same year that Sally Ride became the first American woman in space and Cabbage Patch dolls were popular toys.

Margaret is sent to summer camp while her parents travel in Peru. Shunned by the other campers, she decides to stop participating in camp activities. When asked why she won't participate, she quotes Herman Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener, "I prefer not to." It is her uncles who must come to her rescue while her parents are away.

Margaret expects to have an idyllic summer with her uncles. She looks forward to helping them with the three scrap metal towers they have spent the past 45 years building in their backyard. It is only by chance that she discovers what her parents and her uncles have been hiding from her: the towers are scheduled for demolition.

Gathering a disparate group of adults who have an interest in the towers, Margaret organizes a campaign to save the towers and learns about the history of the neighborhood her uncles have inhabited throughout the years. While the outcome is not exactly what readers might expect, Konigsburg explores the dynamics and consequences of civil disobedience, and what happens when a girl decides to start participating in life again.

A summer crush and a well-planned revenge are the book's major highlights. THE OUTCASTS OF 19 SCHUYLER PLACE may not have the same whimsy as THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER or the spirited competition of THE VIEW FROM SATURDAY, but it does share a theme common in all of Konigsburg's books: the self-reliance and resilience of young people facing the difficult task of becoming adults.

Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood on January 27, 2004

The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place
by

  • Publication Date: January 27, 2004
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0689866364
  • ISBN-13: 9780689866364