Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Strawberry Hill

Strawberry Hill

Mary Ann Hoberman
Illustrator:   Wendy Anderson Halperin 
For ages 9 to 12
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2010   ISBN: 978-0316041355

For some time now Allie’s father has not been able to live with Allie, her brother, and her mother. The country is in the grip of the Depression, and Allie’s father has to live in Stamford, where he can get a job. Now the period of separation is over because Allie’s father has managed to find a house to rent in Stamford. Allie’s parents expect their daughter to be happy about this news, but she isn’t. She likes her school and she likes the fact that the Greenbergs live in the apartment upstairs. Ruthie Greenberg is Allie’s best friend and the thought of leaving Ruthie behind makes Allie feel miserable.

When they arrive at the new house on Strawberry Hill, Allie soon finds out that two girls live in her new neighborhood. There is Martha, who seems to be the perfect person to be Allie’s new “best friend,” and there is Mimi, who is not what Allie considers to be “best friend” material at all. However, Allie soon discovers that there are times when it is not easy to figure out what people are really like. Is Martha as nice as she seems, and could it be that Mimi might be the person Allie is looking for after all?

Set in the Great Depression years, this delightful novel explores the nature of true friendship. Young readers will sympathize with Allie as she struggles to find her place in a new town, and as she tries to come to terms with the fact that sometimes people are not what they seem.