Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone: The Entomological Tales of Augustus T. Percival” as Want to Read:
Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone: The Entomological Tales of Augustus T. Percival
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  445 Ratings  ·  159 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
Hardcover, 196 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by HMH Books for Young Readers
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Oct 08, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone, by Dene Low, was one of the most charming, witty, well written books I have ever read. It had a P. G. Wodehouse feel to it and was chalk full of dry humor. While the plot is not terribly complex, it takes a smart reader who prefers unique reads to enjoy this title. You'll also have to prefer characters who have personalities with more of a subtle depth to them. So many books I've read have female heroines (or heroes in general) who are rude and 'tough' in an unr ...more
Mar 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-for-review

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
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
Mar 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 04, 2011 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
Jul 01, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: signed, 2016-read, kindle
Petronella is a saucy 16 year old in aristocratic London under the guardianship of her uncle Augustus Percival. Ordinarily, this would be a good thing. He is far and away the best of her relatives. But he accidentally swallowed a beetle and now he's a little, shall we say, different. It doesn't help that at her coming out party, two of her titled guests are kidnapped and her entire extended and obnoxious family descends on the house. But armed with her bosom friend, that friend's handsome older ...more
Jun 17, 2010 rated it liked it
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
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
Nov 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: youngadult, mysteries
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!
May 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
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).
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
I picked this book up for two reasons. I am trying to familiarize myself with books in the Teen section of my library (where I am the somewhat new Teen Librarian), and this one had compelling cover art. Reading the dust jacket I was hoping to find something along the lines of a P. G. Wodehouse romp, tailored to modern teens. I’m really glad I read it now because I’m going to recommend that it goes into the Juvenile room. But that’s only because of the plot.

I’d actually like to recommend that w
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
That was so much fun to read and now I'm sorry I didn't get to it for so long. I'm recommending this one to everyone I know that loves P.G. Wodehouse and historical fiction in general. It was so funny and I laughed out loud more times than I can count. The only improvement I could think of would be more kissing, but, hey, Petronella was barely 16 and her crush is in his 20s. The age difference might make it weird.

Loved it!
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
While I really liked the premise of the book, I ultimately didn't end up enjoying it. I found the characters flat to me, and the way it was written not super engaging. It just wasn't for me personally
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was fun and enjoyable.
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a very lighthearted, easy read. I'd say it's at about a 4th or 5th grade reading level, but there were definitely some words I had to look up. The writing was whimsical and entertaining, while still being quite straightforward. Dene Low's writing style reminds me somewhat of Patricia C. Wrede's style also. I liked this book quite a bit.
Apr 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: utah-author
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
Petronella Arbuthnot has been looking forward to her 16th birthday party forever. She hopes her bosom friend Jane's brother James will finally notice her as a woman and not as another little sister. Unfortunately for Petronella, her birthday gets off to a bad start when her uncle and guardian Uncle Augustus T. Percival accidentally swallows an insect and develops a passion for eating bugs! Then two uninvited guests show up to the party, an actress known as Dame Carruthers and Panamanian Generali ...more
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
I love it! I read this book all in one sitting, and was perfectly delighted with every chapter. The absurd plot and witty banter are just perfection! There are so many imaginative details in this book that all come together for a truly interesting plot. The writing is so dignified and humorous; it's like this sugary froth of words.

I adore Uncle Augustus, and I liked how sweet and caring he is to his niece. His insect "problem" was just hilarious! I loved seeing his character develop throughout t
Emily Michelle
Nov 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: favorites
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
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
Erin Reilly-Sanders
Dec 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, teen, historical
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
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Cat for

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
Petronella (real name Eunice, as it happens) is an aristocrat with a family history of adventuring. For an adventuring family, including an aunt who consistently appears in khaki trousers and a pith helmet, they are still awfully concerned with appearances and propriety.

So, when Petronella's Uncle Augustus accidentally swallows a beetle and develops a strong penchant for eating insects.... it's a big problem.

The characters were entertaining but not as endearing as I might have hoped, probably be
Mar 05, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • In Darkness, Death (Samurai Detective, #3)
  • The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets (Enola Holmes, #3)
  • When the Whistle Blows
  • The Case of the Good-Looking Corpse (The P.K Pinkerton Mysteries, #2)
  • Short Program, Volume 1
  • Soldier's Secret: The Story of Deborah Sampson
  • No Moon
  • Eddie: The Lost Youth of Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Teeth of the Gale (Felix Brooke, #3)
  • The Scrapyard of Insufferable Arrogance (Schlock Mercenary, #5)
  • Twelve Minutes to Midnight (Twelve Minutes to Midnight, #1)
  • The Unmapped Sea (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #5)
  • Yakitate!! Japan, Volume 8
  • Lucky Star 6 (Lucky Star, #6)
  • Time to Smell the Roses (The Hermux Tantamoq Adventures, #4)
  • Dancing Through Fire (Portraits, #1)