How It Happened in Peach Hill
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How It Happened in Peach Hill

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  155 ratings  ·  42 reviews
The year is 1924, the heyday of the revived Spiritualist movement. Fourteen-year-old Annie and her mother are successful purveyors of psychic chicanery; they move from town to town, cashing in on the fad for clairvoyant guidance.

When they arrive in Peach Hill, Annie is once again compelled into her part of the act: she has to pretend that she’s the village idiot in order...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published March 13th 2007 by Tundra Books
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Linda (Librarian)
Annie's mother is Madame Caterina, a "spiritual advisor," who brings people messages from the dead loved ones. Annie and her mother move from one town to another as people become suspicious of Madame Caterina. Annie wants to stay in Peach Hill and live a normal life, especially because she has met a boy she really likes, but she is forced to act like an idiot to help her mother fool her clients. Read this book to find out if Annie gets to stay in Peach Hill or is run out of town once again.
Gr 5-9-During the 1920s, 15-year-old Annie travels from town to town in upstate New York with her mother, a self-proclaimed spiritual adviser. Annie is her mother's secret weapon: by posing as an idiot, she can eavesdrop on conversations around town and gather fodder for "Madame Caterina's " fortune-telling sessions. The downside, of course, is that Annie is never able to let anyone learn just how intelligent and lonely she really is. When they move to Peach Hill, the teen longs to settle down,...more
After reading a review of this novel in School Library Journal, I was so excited to read it. The review made the book sound like a mystery novel with the flair of historical fiction since it takes place in 1924. I was very disappointed after finishing the novel. Not only was their no mystery or scandal, but the novel was very slow and repetitive. Annie, the protagonist, is the child of Madame Caterina, a clairvoyant, who preys on peoples weaknesses and wants through her daughter. She forces Anni...more
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I really enjoyed reading this historical fiction book. This novel is set during the 1920's, and it tells the story of Annie, a fifteen year old whose mother is the great clairvoyant, "Madame Caterina." In truth there is nothing great about Annie's Mother. Caterina is a fraud who uses Annie as an accomplice in her schemes. The novel begins with Annie and Caterina arriving in the town of Peach Hill after running away from Carling, New York due to the truth coming out about their spiritual act. Aft...more
As part of my book a day holiday challenge to myself, I have been grabbing any book sitting in the cascading mountain of books I have to read. I wish my hand had grabbed something other than this lackluster book.

The book is set in 1924, and follows a teenage girl, Annie, and her mother, who travel from town to town as psychics and fortune-tellers (usually one step ahead of the law).

Annie is weary of traveling and longs for a normal life away from the control of her mother, who only sees other p...more
I'm torn between 3 and 4 stars - it was a good little read but nothing I'll gush over. It has a lot of outward similarities to A Drowned Maiden's Hair (which I DID gush over) - historical setting, girl in the clutches of not-so-nice parent/guardian who uses her in seances, etc. to make money. But this is no copy-cat and stands well on its own. Annie is 15 and they've just moved to a new town. Her mother has set up shop reading palms, channeling the dead, all the usual. Annie must pretend to be t...more
Great book. It's set in the twenties (I'm assuming) as it mentions the Great War (now known as WWI) but not the Stock Market crash.
About a sixteen year old Annie who started life travelling with a carnival, her mother working as a fortune teller. She talks about travelling after the carnival went bankrupt, going from town to town and helping her mother read palms, give fortunes, and perform seances. Then leaving town before too many townspeople get suspicious. Currently in Peach Hill, Annie's m...more
Annie is just your average fifteen year-old—except that her mother is Madame Caterina, amazing clairvoyant, or at least that’s what they want the townspeople to think. When Annie and her mother move to Peach Hill after an unfortunate run-in with the law, Annie starts to think twice about her role. Rather than doing whatever is necessary to help her mother, she realizes that she might just want to be a normal teenager for once. Cute Sammy Sloane might have something to do with this... This is a w...more
The story centers around Annie, who is 15 about to be 16, and her mom, "Madame Caterina". They travel around during the 1920's. Madame Caterina feigns being a psychic, and she uses Annie to snoop around town getting her valuable information on prospective clients. Soon Annie realizes that she wants to free herself of her mother's grip and just be a normal girl. When they end up in Peach Hill, things unfold for the both of them, and Annie finally comes into her own. It was a quick read that I wou...more
Aug 01, 2007 Mimo rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Grades 5-8
Shelves: ya
15-year-old Annie's mom's job is getting old for Annie. Annie's mom aka Madame Caterina is a clairvoyant. Or at least that's what she leads people to believe. And Annie is an essential part of that con in each new town. In fact, when they first move to Peach Hill Annie must pretend to be "touched". Trouble is, like most girls her age Annie just wants to be normal and accepted. Can she find a way to fit in?

Overall I thought this was a pretty good book. However, I did not think it was a great exa...more
Annie and her "clairvoyant" mother need a fresh start after the police catch them in the act. They travel to Peach Hill where they set up house; Mama as a palm reader, spiritual advisor, and mistress of the seance, and Annie acting as her idiot daughter. But Annie is not an idiot, and as she nears 16, she begins to imagine a life that is not tied to her vain mother, to whom life is one big performance. She begins to question the ethics of what her mother does. She meets a boy, and finds friends...more
JiaMin Luo
What kind of mother is her, telling the daughter to act like a moron? People look down at her, didn't want to be friends with her, and even talking behind her. HOW SAD! Annie is always under her mother, Catherine's control. Catherine needed Annie to be a "spy", to get informations from their clients. By the way, Catherine is a clairvoyant, a fake one. She tells people the things they wanted to hear, but it isn't the truth, of course. Since a child, Annie follows her mother to many villages, and...more
Meh - I think there's a reason this book sat for so long on my tbr pile before I finally read it. As the novel opens, Annie and her mother have just been released from jail and are looking for a new town to set up shop. Enter Peach Hill. Annie's mother is a medium, preying on the local townspeople. I found the plot slow to start. When the problem finally unfolded, the novel took off, but by then, there were only 75 pages or so left in the book. The character development was uneven. The book was...more
Oct 20, 2008 Jennifer rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: middle grade readers
Shelves: middle-grade
The central conflict in Peach Hill is 15 year-old Annie's growing desire to distance herself from her mother's physcic scams. Annie longs to be herself and have her mother love her for herself. She resolves to separate herself from what her mother does, but gets drawn back in. Oddly, even though these emotional struggles were poignant, the characters are a touch flat. I thought the story would have been fine without a subplot involving an abused girl whose problem's mirror Annie's.
After getting into trouble in Carling, NY, Annie and her mother make a new home in Peach Hill. Initially Annie and her mother, Madame Caterina, Spiritual Advisor, operate like normal until the school truant officer finds Annie and she is forced to attend school. After a while Annie begins to like school and grows tired of being a part of her mother's deceptions. She begins to believe that she has a chance for an honest life, but it could mean exposing her mother.
This is such a fun little book that its depth is surprising. Sure, the romantic subplot seems overplayed, but the author's smart enough not to tidy it all up at the end. Just like the plot, beneath the veneer of the side show spiritualist act lies a powerful struggle between mother and child. It may play to the teen-new-found-identity angle, but it certainly makes you wonder about the effects of the balance of power in a parent/child relationship.
Emily Bailey
Annie has been raised to believe in her mom and her mom's act. She knows of course that when her mom sees spirits and can read people's future that really, her mom has just learned about the client ahead of time. Annie has learned her mother's tricks, but when she starts trying to imitate her mother, that doesn't sit too well in the family. Annie gets fed up with being her mother's shadow and wants to find her own place in the world. Can she succeed?
Annie's mother swindles people by reading their palms and reaching their loved ones on "the other side." Since the book is set during WWI, there are many women wanting to contact their lost husbands and sons. Annie's part is to gather information to assist her domineering mother. She does this by pretending to be an idiot. But Annie is 15 and wants to go to school and live a normal life, and she especially wants to meet Sammy Sloane.
The first line of the summary on the back: it is 1924.
While reading this book, I thought it was okay. What could have made it better is the author making the setting and time period more important, because while reading, it could have taken place almost at anytime really, except for all the references to the Great War.
I did enjoy the open ending. It redeemed the story a little.
Abby Warren
I really enjoyed this book. It was book talked by the school librarian a couple of years ago and I just now got around to reading it. The story was compelling and had enough twists and turns to keep my attention, and the growth of the main character, Annie, was really heartwarming. This is probably more suited for girls than boys but it was cute and a fast read.
Beautifully written young adult novel about a teenage girl finding her independence from an overbearing mother (who works as a clairvoyant). The characters are complex and intriguing, although there's not quite enough room in the short-ish story to do them all justice. (Would love to see a sequel about Helen, actually, a fairly minor, but fascinating, character).
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This book centered around Annie's moral dilemma, which was really about a young girl learning to think for herself. It was also about a girl leading an unusual life who just wanted to be normal. Her emotional conflict was tangible. The setting, post-World War I central New York, interested me as well. This isn't my favorite of Jocelyn's books, but I enjoyed it.
Annie's mother is a fortune teller and she is caught up in the act. The family business has led Annie from town to town, but as she is turning sixteen she wants nothing more than to settle down in the town of Peach Hill.

I thought the story was well written and I found it an enjoyable read. I don't think this story will have wide appeal however.
Jun 05, 2007 Kelaine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: middle school
Shelves: tweens
Interesting historical fiction book about a girl and her mother who pretend to be psychics and talk to spirits of dead to pass on messages to the living. Girl is tired of living a wants to keep getting the money...what should she do? Good discussion book for middle school/late elementary. Each chapter begins with an old wives tale saying.
The book failed to draw me in. I didn't really connect with the main character, Annie. I don't know why the author chose to set the novel in 1924 since she really didn't make use of the setting; it could just as easily have taken place in current times. Things did improve towards the end of the book; too bad it took so long.
Oct 27, 2008 Jean rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: YA
I didn't like the cover. I really liked the book. It is a great story about growing up. Deciding what is important and making hard decisions about going against how you have been raised for what is right. Interesting historical fiction about psychics in the early part of the last century.
How would you feel if your mother used you as her "Lurker", a plant to gather information? Annie supplied information which enabled her mother to become Madam Caterina, Spiritual Adviser. How more will fifteen year old Annie be willing to sacrifice for her mother's career?
Teen. Annie's mom is a fake psychic, and in the latest twist has Annie pretending to act like an idiot in order to gather information on people. Annie wants to go to school and be normal. Takes place after the World War I. Nothing surprising, but enjoyable.
Michelle D.
Fantastic book! Completely unexpected. Annie has to act like a "special needs" teenager in order to go along with her mother's schemes...a very interesting way to make a living...but then she meets a boy she likes...
An atypical "coming-of-age" story.
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