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The Parker Inheritance

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  3,806 ratings  ·  863 reviews
A Coretta Scott King Author Honor and Boston Globe / Horn Book Honor winner!

"Powerful.... Johnson writes about the long shadows of the past with such ambition that any reader with a taste for mystery will appreciate the puzzle Candice and Brandon must solve." -- The New York Times Book Review

When Candice finds a letter in an old attic in Lambert, South Carolina, she isn't
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published March 27th 2018 by Arthur A. Levine Books
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YARETZI Candice knows Parker’s/Reggies name because Reggie called Candice honey, Candice answered that she was called Candice ,then Reggie goes ahead and…moreCandice knows Parker’s/Reggies name because Reggie called Candice honey, Candice answered that she was called Candice ,then Reggie goes ahead and whisperers that his name is Reggie. (less)
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  3,806 ratings  ·  863 reviews

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The other day I was asked to come up with ten children’s book equivalents to Claudia Rankine’s book Citizen (which, should anybody ask you, is not for kids). To do this, I wanted to include a range of different kinds of books at different ages. Picture books and nonfiction titles. Early chapter books and poetry. And, of course, socially conscious middle grade novels (books for kids between the ages of 9-12). But as it turns out, books for young people that take a long hard look at systematic ...more
I loved so many things about this book--the characters, the history, and the mystery. This would be a fabulous read aloud or a jumping off place for conversations about racism, family dynamics, and friendship.
Jordan Henrichs
What I liked:
- Very ambitious story; Overall, I liked the structure, mixing in flashback point of views to fill in the gaps of the mystery
- While not near as refined or effective as either, this reminded me more of Holes than The Westing Game (either way, good books to be compared to)
- Reggie and Siobhan's relationship was emotionally effective
- Big Dub was a fantastic anti-hero (adult Reggie too, was authentically flawed)
- Candice and Brandon's relationship was sweet
- Milo (the bully) was very
Paula Chase
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What makes this book so good are the nuances. It's a mystery and while trying to solve it, the young protags deal with bullying, bigotry and the weight of the past. One of my favorite elements of the story was the way it revolved between past and present. It was like having a YA folded into a MG novel and I was as invested in the story arc of the past as I was in the story arc of the present. The racism is shown in its true brutal form and we're left helpless to watch the young characters ...more
Stephanie Fitzgerald
I was a bit disappointed in this one. The amount of different characters was difficult to keep up with. As well the time setting kept alternating between the 1950’s and modern day. I think middle-grade readers would have difficulty finishing this book.
Both a mystery in the vein of The Westing Game (which is cited in the book) and a look at race relations past and present, this is an excellent and vital book. I don't really want to spoil any piece of the puzzle, so just let me say that there is a reason why this book has gotten such good reviews, and so many stars. Varian is a wonderful writer, but this is really a tour-de-force.
Cassie Thomas
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, middle-grade
What a fantastic story of friendship, differences, struggles, and love - with a dash of adventure, mystery, and history. I was so inspired by so many little comments throughout that it makes me want to do more, to inspire others to do better out there in the world.
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is definitely one of my favorite middle grade reads of 2018. Rich in detail and content, wonderfully written, and highly engaging. ...more
I might be reading too much into this but The Parker Inheritance (P.I. *wink wink*) is an AMAZING middle-grade mystery book, reminiscent and inspired by The Westing Game.

Twelve-year-old bookworm and puzzle expert, Candice Miller spends the summer in Lambert, South Carolina with her mom after her parents get divorced. They stay in what was once her grandmother's house and she finds a letter addressed specifically to her in the attic about a lost fortune of millions. If found, Candice would
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
I've read a lot of opinions on this already from the Newbery goodreads group, so I'll weigh in on what I've already heard.

1. There are too many issues for one book: I was OK with this. Except for one part at the very end. They all seemed realistic for a kid to be experiencing and I wasn't overwhelmed.

2. The book is too long: Yeah, a little bit.

3. The mystery wasn't strong: I agree with this. It was a little confusing and there was much luck involved. I was confused when Candi and Brandon seemed
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Just because you don't see the path doesn't mean it's not there."

What an incredible book! In my view this is totally for adults as well. The way the story weaves in interludes from the past with the present was my favorite thing about it, and in doing so it delves deeply into history, racism and oppression, love, friendship, legacy, sexual orientation, and more. This book lets people be complicated and almost never one-note and has a suspenseful mystery at its heart.

An expertly written
Joyce Yattoni
If you are reading this review you need to run to the closest library, Target or keyboard and get this book now. this book and I know quite a few teachers who will love it too. I am always looking for good mysteries for students who like that type of story. This book fits the bill. Not only does it have mystery, but it also has a puzzle that the reader is attempting to solve along with the character. Moreover, it is plush with a lot of history. The story flashes back to a time during the mid ...more
3.5 stars. Well-written, but it's no Westing Game. The historical flashbacks dominated, and that story was interesting but there were so many characters to keep track of and I got bogged down. It felt really long--I thought it must be about over and then realized I was only at 50%! I wanted more of the mystery, particularly since the historical parts dealt with heavy themes. Which is fine, but I like to know that's what a book is about going in. So I felt a little tricked into reading something ...more
Jan 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Candice and her author mom move to her late grandmother's home in Lambert, South Carolina while their Atlanta home is being remodeled to put on the market due to her parents' divorce. Candice planned to spend time with her friends that summer, but now she will be alone much of the time as her mom writes. Candice' grandmother served as Lambert's city manager until a letter presenting a puzzle and an opportunity to help Lambert's economy caused her to dig up the tennis courts. She resigned due to ...more
Phil Jensen
It was so much of what I wanted, but not quite how I wanted it. Varian Johnson delivered the following rare ingredients:

* A mystery that is solved by learning history
* LGBT issues handled in a PG context
* A bully character with more than one dimension
* A balance between talking about the history of overt racism contrasted with modern, more subtle racism

And yet, it falls short. Why? Where did this winning formula go wrong?

* The characterization is heavy-handed. If a character is shy about seeming
My favorite type of book may begin on summer vacation, small town, and a mystery. In a perfect world all kids would have a puzzly break from school which allows them to run rampant through a town with parks and ice cream shops. PARKER INHERITANCE is this type of story. I also love when far flung narratives make their way to a central spot in clever and unexpected ways. PI goes for this too, although it does feel more manipulative than organic.

There is a lot going on here (note the extensive
Jayne Bartrand
possible #mockNewbery2018
This book takes on too much.: race relations, Civil Rights history, LGBTQ, divorce, religion, some language. . .
and then you have to keep up with all these characters and time jumping/alternating chapters, plus The Westing Game (Raskin) letter/code mystery hidden treasure. . . too much
I'm not sure a middle grades reader would invest in all that.
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best middle grade books I've read in years. Fast-paced, fascinating, significant while staying fun. I want to read it all over again!
Aj Sterkel
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Likes: Well, this is a compelling mystery. I was flipping pages frantically near the end. I had to know if the kids would find the treasure!

The mystery kept me guessing. I never predicted where the clues would lead. Brandon and Candice are the perfect characters to star in this story because they’re an unstoppable team. They want to prove that the treasure is real and that Candice’s grandmother wasn’t a delusional person who dug up a beloved tennis court for no reason. The kids face constant
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was so good.
Ms. Yingling
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Candice's grandmother was a city official in the small town of Lambert before she fell into disrepute. She thought there was treasure buried under the tennis courts and had them dug up. When no treasure appeared, she was relieved of her duties. Candice and her mother are spending the summer cleaning out her grandmother's house after her death, and Candice has some letters that indicate there is still a treasure out there. It's a rough summer-- her parents are
Abby Johnson
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Kids who like puzzle mysteries and solving riddles are going to eat this up. And it's a story with meat on its bones. As Candice and Brandon are researching, they discover a lot of unsavory stuff that happened to the African Americans who started the whole thing in the 1950s. They learn a lot about their families and their town and themselves as they try to piece together where the fortune came from and where it might be hidden.

Hand this to kids who love The Westing Game and other puzzle
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing blend of historical fiction and mystery. I loved this book. Definitely, think it could be up to win the Newberry.
Clare Lund
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Candice finds the strange letter in her grandmother's attic with clues about how to uncover a buried treasure, she and her new friend Brandon set out to solve the mystery that her grandma was never able to fully unravel. Along the way, they uncover reveals ugly, racist secrets lurking in the town's past, and a wrong against an entire family that they are hoping to right. I found the constant flashbacks to be a little jarring, and would have preferred to see more of the mystery through ...more
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amazon-vine, ya, mystery
Books are usually aimed at an audience slightly younger than the main characters in the book. Since the present-day heroine and hero are 12- and 11-years-old, that would indicate elementary school kids as the target audience. However, the writing level and issues discussed are at least high-school age to adult, IMO. The main characters from the 1957 era (with chapters from their points-of-view) were high schoolers and adults, so maybe that is the intended audience.

Anyway, the present day (black)
Barb Middleton
A male high school student asked me to buy several romance ebooks for the Kindle. He didn't want to be "seen" carrying print copies just like the character, Brandon Jones, who likes to read "girl" stories. This is just one of many different social issues addressed in this novel giving it depth. Topics cover racism, marginalization, choices, LGBTQ, divorce, bullying and more; however, is written for readers ages 8-12. At the heart of the story is a puzzle being solved by the protagonist, Candice ...more
Bethany Michelle  Planton
Book People, an independent bookstore in Austin, Texas, sent me this book because I liked Greenglass House. The Parker Inheritance was a perfect fit. It takes the reader on a puzzling adventure full of surprises, delights, and a large dose of history.
Karyn Silverman
I don’t think I loved this as much as other people did, although it’s totally solid and enjoyable and I would definitely recommend it to lots of actual middle grade readers. But that visceral love? Nah. Good puzzle, great history and puts oppression and racism into a context (then AND now) that I think is spot on for the intended audience. Poor copy editing though — Ms.McMillan/McMillian seems to change her name every chapter.
Leonard Kim
Not sure the tricky aspects of this book work as well as in the Greene books, but the historical love story is sympathetic. Listened to the audiobook which, without spoiling anything, may actually make some details more effective. I’d be curious to see how they were handled in print.
Brandy Painter
I thoroughly enjoyed the historical parts of this novel. The characters from the past were interesting, and the events that made up their lives in this small SC town are what kept me reading. The contemporary part felt like it was trying to do a little too much. There were so many story lines and threads happening that it took way too long for the actual mystery part to get going. When you are constantly referencing The Westing Game, the greatest children's puzzle novel of all time, and you're ...more
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“I don’t care how many courses you take or how many books you read. You’ll never understand what it means to be a Negro. You’ll never face the discrimination they see every day. You’ll never struggle the way they do. Now, enough talking. Here comes Dub.” 1 likes
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