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The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson - Review

Saturday, September 11, 2021


Where did I get it? I bought it a few weeks about at a publisher's fair in Manchester, actually from my friend Vicky, who runs Pen Fight Distro, and who has quite a lot of middle grade and YA books. 

What's it about? Candice is twelve years old and is spending the summer in Lambert, South Carolina, which is where her grandmother lived until ten years previously, when she moved to Atlanta to be closer to Candice and her family. Candice's parents have just split up, and their house is being renovated to sell it, so Candice and her mom have gone to Lambert. Candice's mom is a romance writer, meaning Candice is along quite a lot of the time. She loves reading and puzzles. Across the street Brandon lives with his family - his mom, his sister Tori, and their grandfather. Despiter herself, Candice ends up making friends with Brandon and the two swqap library books. 

Then in the attic, Candice finds a mysterious letter addressed to her grandmother about an inheritance left to the city by a man called James Parker. It has clues to where the money is, clues which Candice's grandmother tried to follow and ended up digging up tennis courts in a nearby neighbourhood. She thought that was where the treasure was buried, but it wasn't, and she got into trouble with the city and lost her job - which is when she moved to Atlanta. 

Candice and Brandon start trying to unravel the mystery. Brandon is being bullied by some boys from school but is supported by his sister. Candice desperately wants to go back to Atlanta and see her dad, but she has to learn some stuff about her family first. 

There are also some historical parts to the book, concerning a family called the Washingtons, who were well known in the city and whose history is linked to the inheritance. I liked these bits - they showed what life was like for black people in the area at the time, and the segregation there was between black people and white people, and so on. I thought these bits were good for teaching the reader about history but not in a preachy way. 

What age range is it for? Aged ten plus I think 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yes, but I don't want to put any spoilers here. 

Are any main characters people of colour? Yes, Candice and Brandon and their families are black, plus there's lots of black history.  

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? No 

What criticisms do I have? Almost none, I really liked it. There were a lot of characters to keep track of, that was the worst thing for me. 

Would I recommend the book? Yes, absolutely, for any age range 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I wanted to get to it soon after buying it 


What do I think of the cover? I like it, I'm not sure how much of the story it gets across but maybe that doesn't matter

How many stars? Four out of five 


Where is the book going now? I might lend it out, but I'll keep it!

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