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Palace Beautiful

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Palace Beautiful

by Sarah D Williams


Quick Overview

In the mid-1980s, 13-year-old Sadie Brooks and her younger, tantrum-prone sister, Zuzu, arrive at their new house in Salt Lake City with their father and pregnant stepmother. Kristin (aka Belladonna Desolation, or Bella) lives with her demanding mother and feels like an "extra"—a child her mother didn't want. She and Sadie become close while investigating the possibilities of ghosts in the nearby graveyard. When the girls find a crawl space in Sadie's attic, they are amazed to also discover a doorway with the words "Palace Beautiful" painted over it. Inside the small space is a journal, and when Zuzu bursts in at the same moment they find it, the team of two becomes a gang of three. They take turns reading the diary, which dates from 1918 and was written by a girl named Helen White. She describes the very room in which the three girls are sitting; her family, including a baby brother who is not expected to survive; and the town's battle with deadly influenza. The children decide to try to track Helen down, and their heartfelt quest results in an unforgettably sweet conclusion. Williams does a super job with the characters in this beautifully written book, and it is satisfying to see how they develop.


When sisters Sadie and Zuzu move to Salt Lake City, they discover an old journal in a secret room in their new house. Along with their neighbor, Bella, the girls take turns reading the story of a girl named Helen who lived during the flu epidemic of 1918. They soon become wrapped up in Helen's tale, which ends with a tragedy that has a scary parallel to Sadie and Zuzu's lives. Did Helen survive the flu? Is she still alive somewhere? Or could her ghost be watching them? Size 0.63" H x 7.73" L x 5.1" W, 232 pages

Additional Information

ISBN 9780142417454
Author Sarah D Williams
Age Group 10-14
Book Type paperback

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