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The Callender Papers

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  795 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Edgar Award Winner, NYT When Jean Wainwright takes a job at a remote Berkshire mansion in the summer of 1874 she begins to uncover secrets that put her life at risk.
Hardcover, 261 pages
Published March 1st 2000 by Turtleback Books (first published January 1st 1983)
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(showing 1-30)
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Natasha ZettaCrepeauStypayhoralikson
I got this when I was a little girl, about 5, at a book festival. It sat on my shelf for six years, dubbed as boring. When I opened it up, it drew me in. I loved the entire book, and the characters just jump out on you, real and diverse. I'm a minor still, so it actually appeals to me more than a thirty year old. Anyway, it is a beautiful book.
Dec 03, 2008 Brett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I teach school and this is a great period piece. It is a great mystery and every student I have suggested it for loves it.
Oct 25, 2009 Josiah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"People can be unimaginably foolish...and they can be unimaginably grand, at times."

—Aunt Constance, The Callender Papers, P. 9

"Men, and women too, are unpredictable creatures. You have seen little of this. I wonder now if your innocence is enough protection for you."

—Aunt Constance, P. 17

I would give two and a half stars to this book.
Cynthia Voigt has delivered a solid family mystery story that stretches back a full decade before this book begins, populated with strong, realistic characte
Personally, I liked this book. It had a fun plot idea. I thought it was better at some points than others though.
The basic idea of the plot was that, a young girl went to live with a man for the summer in a small town, to help him with some work. While she was there, she began finding a deeper meaning to her work. Things began to come together, and fall apart in her understanding as time went on. As she digs deeper into her research, her life begins to be put on the line. Finally she uncovers
I was a big Cynthia Voigt fan as a kid - but not her realistic fiction. Homecoming depressed me, although I think I worked my way through the whole thing. I much preferred stories with some mystery or fantasy to them, so The Callender Papers really worked for me then (as did Jackaroo: A Novel of the Kingdom, which I've yet to reread). Coming back to it as an adult, I know exactly why I enjoyed it then, but the mystery elements don't work quite as well because the ending felt obvious.

But here's
This was an interesting turn-of-the century mystery that I remember liking as a kid and I enjoyed it again as an adult. I was able to guess at the ending well before it came though, and I wonder if that's just because I'm older or if kids would guess too. Should appeal to upper grade elementary ages.
Maggie Turner
Mar 21, 2012 Maggie Turner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book while browsing with my mom in the young adult section of the public library. The description caught my eye because the story was about a young girl who was charged with going though and organizing personal papers. I thought what a great author to write about record retention and the screening of archival papers !

Without revealing too much of the story which lead to my conclusions, I will say that being an older reader, I suspected the direction in which the plot was heading by
Sep 02, 2008 Danielle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I read this book in fourth grade. It was recommended to me by my teacher, Mrs. Stevenson. I remember that part, at least. The details of the story elude my memory. I remember not being enthralled but feeling like I was supposed to be.
Incidentally, it may have been this book that inspired my desire to choose a book for each of my children where the main character shared their name. When I was 9 I had already picked all five of my kids' names. My second daughter was to be named Constance Marie, a
Kristen Smith
Jun 17, 2015 Kristen Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This gets four stars for a juvenile mystery. For an all-category rating, it would be 3 stars. I knew what was going on right from the beginning, but the tension was there throughout. I didn't know exactly how it would play out.
Lynn K.
Jan 30, 2016 Lynn K. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A favorite from my childhood. I remember it being shocking, but couldn't remember what it was all about. I didn't even remember that it was historical fiction!! (It was much more predictable this time around...)
I liked The Callender Papers. The mystery and the surrounding reasons were apparent to me, but I am older and have had more experiences than the protagonist, Jean. Even so, I enjoyed this story.
Nov 07, 2014 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this in a box of books in my niece's bedroom while on vacation in AK so I decided to reread it. It's not my favorite of Cynthia Voigt's but still an enjoyable but also sad read.
Kelley  C
Oct 30, 2015 Kelley C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still enjoyable! The whole premise of the story kind of fell apart at the end (WHY are they associating with this guy???), but overall this book was as good as I remembered from when I was little.
Michelle Stein
Nice choice for grades 5-6 mystery/suspense genre. Too predictable for avid readers, but setting is nicely anchored in historical accuracy.
Sep 04, 2013 Rusty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-ya
While the narrator of this little book is just thirteen, the story is appropriate for this age and up. Winner of the Edgar Allen Poe Award, the mystery begins with a young girl sorting family papers for Mr. Thiel. Even though he's a friend of her Aunt Constance, she finds him a little terrifying. Instead, she finds herself drawn to another man whose warmth and friendly manner is more appealing to a young person. As the mystery unfolds, she finds herself the center of it all. To tell more about t ...more
Dec 28, 2014 Merilee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this as a child- read and re-read it!
Hank Wyborney
Feb 12, 2008 Hank Wyborney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This author has always impressed me. She's a master at developing characters. It was fun to re-discover her after not reading any of her work for several years. I noticed in this book that she writes clearly and cleanly, but not with the elegance of a Phillip Pullman or the fiery, jaw-dropping poetry of Gormeghast which I'm also reading. She shines on her clean story line and beautiful character development.

I enjoyed this book immensely though the mystery part of it is something you will probabl
Hilary Tesh
Jul 21, 2013 Hilary Tesh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Gothic novel, first published in 1983 and winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award, written in the style and tone of a good old-fashioned classic, for young teenagers. This is a good introduction to the Gothic genre, without the modern trend for vampires round every corner! Several reviewers have mentioned predictability in the plot, but I think that is because it ticks off the typical elements of a Gothic novel in a style accessible to its target readers. I love the dedication in my copy: "Fur Cla ...more
This was a good book and it seemed fairly classic. But I do have to say one thing, I found the plot highly predictable. It really was pretty obvious that she was the daughter all along and that Mr. Callender was trying to murder her. I even had a vague idea of what was going to happen before they even introduced half the characters. I'm definitely not saying it's not a good book, it totally was. But reader beware, you shall find no suspense (except in one scene) here.
Kim Oja
Jan 28, 2015 Kim Oja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mysterious father figures are my jam.
Jan 17, 2011 Sara rated it liked it
Solid story about a 12-year-old girl in the late 19th century who spends a summer working for a mysterious and cantankerous acquaintance of her adoptive aunt. She's smart and plainspoken, but is believable as a 12 year old. The writing style didn't feel dated at all. Some of the plot twists seemed obvious to me early on, but I'm pretty sure I've read this one before (albeit probably at least 15 years ago), so maybe I'm just remembering the story from an earlier reading.
Apr 30, 2010 Lisa rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, mystery
In spite of its predictability, this YA mystery was a fun read. Kind of like a mini-Jane Eyre or The Secret Garden. I was amused by the main character's refrain about the importance of "thinking carefully." It was pretty cute, how devoted she was to the idea that thinking carefully could solve all of her problems. It made a funny contrast with how many things were actually beyond her understanding or control.
Oct 03, 2009 Tracy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A relaxed little mystery, told from the perspective of a (mature) 12-year old girl. It took a long time for the mystery part to become apparent, but the story leading up to it was still satisfying.

It's a bit strange that the adults seem to treat the young girl as an equal or contemporary in conversation, especially in the time period when (I believe) children were to be seen and not heard.
Aug 04, 2009 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This book is set in the late 1800s, and follows Jean, a young orphan who is given a job sorting through some old family papers in the attic of a trustee of her aunt's school for girls.
It was an interesting read, and was able to keep my attention for most of the story. Although much of it was predictable, it was a forgivable predictablity. 3.5 stars would be more accurate. If only...
This wasn't quite as exciting as it's claimed to be. The story was thrilling, but a tad bit unrealistic. The main character is only twelve, but she's solving mysteries and having mature conversations that I found hard to believe - the author should have put her at least 5 years older because that's how she appeared. All in all, I did like how it the story resolved.
joyce lynn
Aug 07, 2007 joyce lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
was a good, short book that held my interest, especially towards the end. the only thing that didn't see so plausible, was that the girl was that smart, and could hold that adult a conversation, at 12. of course, i SHOULDN'T be surprised, as i had/have a few kids like that myself, but ... don't know that i would have hired on for the job this character was!
Aug 21, 2008 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when I was younger, and I re-read it over the last couple weeks while my students were reading. It's a wonderfully-written mystery, even if the main character sounds a little stuffy. I think it's a good read for young adults (and anyone) who like historical fiction.
Laurie D'ghent
Dec 16, 2012 Laurie D'ghent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I've ever read. I'm amazed at how Ms. Voigt can change her writing style so completely from book to book. This novel has all the beautiful, lilting characteristics of the classics, without the excess description or terribly antiquated terms. A modern "classic"
Oct 12, 2012 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: four-star
I read this years ago and it sounded so good that I thought I'd read it again. I was disappointed that the girl didn't actually go back into the past. She just discovers some family secrets- and secrets about herself- while sorting papers for a "family friend".
Jan 19, 2012 Lindsay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I Own this book and I love it and I do not remember when or where I got it but I read the whole thing and I cried somewhat when reading. If you have not read it I storngly you read it.

I have not read it anytime soon but I may in a few weeks or months again.
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Cynthia Voigt is an American author of books for young adults dealing with various topics such as adventure, mystery, racism and child abuse.

Angus and Sadie: the Sequoyah Book Award (given by readers in Oklahoma), 2008
The Katahdin Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Anne V. Zarrow Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Margaret Edwards Award, for a body of work, 1995
Jackaroo: Ratte
More about Cynthia Voigt...

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“You must not let yourself become too respectable. Keep yourself a little wild. What is life for, if not for the living of it?” 13 likes
“People can be unimaginably foolish...and they can be unimaginably grand, at times.” 7 likes
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