Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone: The Entomological Tales of Augustus T. Percival
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Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone: The Entomological Tales of Augustus T. Percival

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3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  336 ratings  ·  138 reviews
You would think Petronella’s sixteenth birthday would be cause for celebration. After all, fashionable friends are arriving at her country estate near London, teas are being served, and her coming out party promises to be a resplendent affair. Everything is falling nicely into place, until, suddenly—it isn’t. For Petronella discovers that her guardian, Uncle Augustus T. Pe...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Miriam
The cover and title were so cute that it wasn't a huge shock (although it was a disappointment) to find that the prose was much too precious for my taste. However, my main complaint was that Low has no feel for Victorian society and its mores, and clearly didn't bother to do any research. Probably she's read a couple of romances set during the 19th century and "knows" that people had coming-out parties and cared about their reputations. And wore fancy dresses, of course. That's the main point of...more
Jennifer
I added this disclaimer to my review after a lively conversation with some angry readers who turned out to be the author's grandson and school friend. Out of that discussion I read a blog post by the author. She made several points including that I had missed the satire and was probably someone who just bought into theories without critical analysis. I am not sure about that but I did miss that this book was satire. I thought it was more a spunky heroine, playing around with historical setting t...more
Timnah
The author is my mother, and I read this book pre-publication. As manuscripts go through many changes during the publication process, I have held off on reviewing it until it was published, so that I could re-read it and review the published text.

Lest anyone think that I am biased in this review, let me include a reminiscence of my relationship with the art of writing and with my mother.

I was about seven years old. I took a story I had written into the kitchen and read it aloud to my mother, who...more
DeAnne
I loved this book. Loved it. It is a spot-on Regency spoof, without being spoofy at all. The story itself is entertaining, the protagonist's voice is delightful, the action is hysterical. The shades of Jane Austin are impossible to miss, but it's a delicate lavender shading. Anything more (or less), would be unseemly.

This is a lovely, light afternoon romp through wondrous estates, The Home Office, the seedy docks of London and mad Selleresque plots to overthrow the Crown.

This delightful comedy...more
Anna
Aug 04, 2011 Anna added it
A review on the back of The Entomological Tales of Augustus T. Percival: Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone, by Dene Low, describes the narrative as "frothy," and nothing could be more true. The plot (best approached without looking too closely at the details, or it might collapse under the weight of its own frothiness) concerns the kidnapping of two dignitaries on the eve of narrator Petronella Arbuthnot's sixteenth birthday. With the aid of her insect-ingesting uncle Augustus, bosom friend Jane...more
Katy
Have you ever been to a melodrama on stage where they exaggerate the villans and hold signs that prompt the crowd to boo and hiss and then exaggerate the hero and hold signs to cheer? When one reads this book one feels as though one is attending just such an event! (One also speaks this way when one is introducing every chapter!) It is light and funny, but the exaggeration and silliness keep you from ever really caring about the characters. Petronella never felt real to me, but I enjoyed the wor...more
Hallie
This was a very enjoyable, sweet little romp through London's upper crust in the beginning of the 1900s, with a bug-eating uncle making Petronella's hopes of a season more fraught than she'd hoped. I happily went with the awful aunts (one constantly pith-helmeted, one an early fashion victim) as they were cheerfully over-the-top. But some of the dialogue missed slightly and not all the wimsy was as effective as it could have been. Still liked it a lot, and will look out for a sequel, or whatever...more
Hannah
As a person who enjoys historical British novels in the vein of Jane Austen, the Brontes, Mrs. Gaskell, and my favorite romance author, Georgette Heyer. This novel carries that tone, but injects so much whimsy, hilarity, and action that I truly enjoyed this story and would recommend it to teens who enjoy the same!
Petronella is a 16 year old girl about to have her coming out party in London society. Her guardian and uncle, Augustus, accidentally swallows a beetle one afternoon and is forever cha...more
Jessica
Tip-top, old whatsit! A hilarious mystery in the style of a P.G. Wodehouse novel, Petronella is a young lady of good family just making her debut when the party is spoiled by her beloved uncle and guardian knocking down the tent . . . because he was trying to eat the moths circling the candles! Plagued by her uncle's strange ailment, a double-kidnapping (which turns triple!), international intrigue, and a number of inconvenient relations, the book is a fun little romp from beginning to end!
Cheryl in CC NV
3.5 stars - needed richer characters. Picked up from the library on impulse because of the utterly beguiling cover. The heroine is 16, but the book is ok for ages about 9 up. The story is an exciting mystery with a bit of romance and a lot of wonderful vocabulary words. I'd have loved it when I was 12. Don't be put off by the structure of the title - it may eventually become part of a series but for now it stands alone just fine as a charming debut.
Betsy
May 03, 2009 Betsy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Betsy by: Colleen Mondor
One Sentence Review: It may not be particularly well known due to the sheer strangeness of the material, but Low's book is still a hoot and a holler (and really the number one go-to source for bug eating uncles this year).
Erin Reilly-Sanders
For some reason I feel a little confused by this one. For one, I feel like I should have been better amused by this book. I enjoy mysteries, historical pieces, and especially books with a heavy handed sprinkle of smart humour. All these things we're present and yet I still didn't feel drawn in by the inescapable charm of the book. The characters are rather shallow but make up for it in witty dialog. The requisite romance is there but seems rather static- Petronella is in love with James, who is...more
Emily Michelle
I struggled with what rating to give this book. The fact is, the plot is not brilliant. The kidnapping and the international intrigue weren't terribly compelling and were a bit hard to follow; I still have no idea why the Colombians were kidnapping the Panamanians . . . or was it vice versa? And I found Uncle Augustus's bug eating rather more annoying than funny, which is rather unfortunate because I think that's going to be the point of the entire series.

But for all this, I really liked the boo...more
Vivian
Something for the budding Jane-Austenette brimful of turn-of-the-twentieth century vernacular, sillyness, mystery, intrigue, friendship, scientific fantasy (an oxymoron?)-- all told with a flair for hyperbole. I kept visualizing this as a delightful movie--once I got past her Uncle's unfortunate transistion. A word of warning to the tweener: your vocabulary may swell a bit, if you stop to jot down unfamiliar words and later look them up.

Here is a running list of some of the vocabulary...
bellicos...more
Maureen E
I really, really wanted to like this book. Really, really. And it was fun. A light, sparkling romp through English country houses and London, complete with spunky heroine and bug-eating uncle. I did appreciate that Petronella was spunky but also very concerned with society’s rules (at least at the beginning) and very interested in clothes. Because, honestly, most of us are somewhat concerned with society’s rules and interested in clothes. So she rang a little more true as a girl of her times (La...more
Mara
Cover Blurb: Not my absolute favorite; the title is what I got me to look at its synopsis, and then read it. It sounded too weird to pass up. The cover is kind of charming, but it doesn’t do anything for me.

What I Liked: Petronella is a very amusing, witty, sarcastic narrator; she was terrific. The other characters were all very good “supporting cast.” This book reminded me of a combination of The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place and A Series of Unfortunate Events: it had the time period an...more
Books and Literature for Teens
What if your uncle (and guardian) started eating bugs? What if, on your coming out party, two important guest-and later, your dearest friend-were kidnapped? What if your heart's true love still treated you like a little sister? And finally, what if your pesky, insane relatives got wind of this scandal and came knocking at your door?
Preposterous you say! But it's exactly what happens to Petronella Arbuthnot. Now it is up to her, Uncle Augusts, the handsome Lord James Sinclair, several old biddy a...more
Amy
Picture Junior Asparagus from Veggie Tales saying "that is disgusting" and you have an idea what is running through my head right now. Wow.
I don't even know where to begin. Maybe with the title.
It comes across kind of childish..."Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone" and that is what first caught my attention. It was a quick read, with a most facinating and disturbing plot.
Petronella is a young lady in Victorian England whose guardian and uncle is hosting her 16th birthday coming-out-party when he...more
Sandra Stiles
Petronella is preparing for her coming out party when disaster strikes. An unknown type of beetle flies into her Uncle's mouth. As her guardian she needs him to be there for her. He is suddenly behaving very peculiar. He is snatching bugs out of the air and eating them. As the party approaches her Uncle tries to behave himself. Unfortunately while trying to nab a tasty delight he causes the party tent to collapse on the guests. When everyone is removed they realize that the Count and Countess ha...more
Sandra Stiles
Petronella is preparing for her coming out party when disaster strikes. An unknown type of beetle flies into her Uncle's mouth. As her guardian she needs him to be there for her. He is suddenly behaving very peculiar. He is snatching bugs out of the air and eating them. As the party approaches her Uncle tries to behave himself. Unfortunately while trying to nab a tasty delight he causes the party tent to collapse on the guests. When everyone is removed they realize that the Count and Countess ha...more
Ruth
This is a frothy little yarn. Kind of bizarre in plot (great uncle Augustus accidentally swallows some sort of strange beetle that flies right into his mouth--and ever after that, he craves bugs to eat, but not human food). ICK!--and his niece Petronella has to help figure out how to save him, alongside two upper-crust muckity-mucks who happen to be kidnapped right during Petronella's official coming-out party ("coming out" in the archaic sense, not in the 21st century, of course). I almost wond...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Cat for TeensReadToo.com

All Petronella wants is for her sixteenth birthday luncheon, marking her debut into society, to be a success - but things go awry right from the start when her Uncle Augustus discovers a fondness for entomography (bug-eating).

Circumstances grow steadily worse when two important guests, Dame Carruthers and Generalisimo Reyes-Cardoza (a Panamanian dignitary) are kidnapped and held for ransom. It's just plain bad luck when Petronella's fortune-hunting relatives d...more
Jessica
Dene Low is a local Utah author. I met her at Writing for Charity. And I simply had to pick up her book, especially in light of the delightful title and cover. As far as I can tell, Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone is Ms. Low's only published work, though she has completed three additional books about Petronella's adventures. Without further ado, the blurb:

You would think Petronella’s sixteenth birthday would be cause for celebration. After all, fashionable friends are arriving at her country es
...more
Alea

This has got to be one of the strangest, cutest, most wonderful starts to a series I've ever read and I think I'm in love with it. The language, the characters, their behaviors to me everything was spot on.

Right off the bat we are introduced to Victorian manners and ways of doing things and then all of a sudden we find Uncle Augustus T. Percival having a bite to eat, a bite to eat of BUGS! His compulsion is just so hilarious, the way the author writes it, seeing him hopping around in the backgro...more
catherine james
All Petronella wants is for her sixteenth birthday luncheon, marking her debut in society, to be a success; but things go awry right from the start when her uncle Augustus, discovers a fondness for entomography (bug-eating). Circumstances grow steadily worse when two important guests, Dame Carruthers and Generalisimo Reyes-Cardoza (a Panamanian dignitary) are kidnapped and held for ransom. It's just plain bad luck when Petronella's fortune-hunting relatives descend in the hopes of proving Uncle...more
J.Elle
This was a quick read. I would consider some of the dialogue to be witty, but my impression was that the author tried to outdo herself and it became rather repetitive. When was the last time you read a book where the word hirsute was used? Try 3 times. That's overkill, in my opinion. I realized rather quickly that rather than being a book about a mystery with bugs thrown in, this was a book about bugs with a mystery thrown in. A young girl's guardian accidentally ingests a beetle and finds he su...more
Gloriana
Jun 23, 2012 Gloriana rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Middle to high school
I was originally attracted to this book for the sole stupid reason of its appearance. It is a little bitty hardback, about 10 inches tall, and it was dark brown with a mint green jacket. It looked like something made out of mint chocolate chip ice cream... Anyways, I picked it up, and it looked pretty interesting, so I bought it, not really knowing what to expect.
Despite the intimidatingly long title, this book really is a little gem. I went into it expecting something along the lines of Pride...more
Sue
Enjoyed this on the train ride to and from NYC. I thought the idea of Augustus' problem extremely creative, but sometimes a little squeamish. [I thought the author took great effort to make it palatable by inserting a lot of comic relief or using 'off screen' actions] The language and tone reminded me of some other books I've really enjoyed - the Incorrigible series, Cecelia & the Chocolate Pot, and Flora Segunda.

Do I wish Petronella was less swoony when it comes to a certain young man she k...more
Meghan
This is a good, not great Young Adult book. I didn't find it so fascinating that I think everyone needs to run out and read it, but it's not too bad. It's charming and the vocabulary in it is pretty advanced which is a nice challenge for kids, but the premise--solving a kidnapping while keeping an eye on a bug-eating uncle isn't the most awesome one ever. Adorable, but not a must read. (Also, Drew Campbell, I win :)
Erin O.
After I was intrigued by the interesting title and pen-and-ink drawings in the first few pages, I found the actual text of this book somewhat disappointing. By and large the dialogue felt contrived and labored ("Avoid the strawberry trifle. It is exactly the same shade as the Countess of Wilberforce's tresses, and I cannot recommend it."), and the plot was so muddy I'm still not sure exactly what happened. Unfortunately, my boredom prevented me from working too hard to find out.

One thing I thou...more
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