“Pie”: A young adult novel

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"Pie" by Sarah Weeks

“Pie” is the title of a 2011 young adult novel written by Sarah Weeks.

It has a delightfully creative and engaging storyline, and I’ll bet it will leave the reader craving a piece of pie, too.

In fact, the reader may even go so far as to bake the pie.

The book’s cover art features a big white cat that’s sitting on the word “Pie.” He’s looking up at a hot cherry pie (at least it looks like a cherry pie).

The book’s unique plot centers around Polly Portman and her pie shop, and as a special treat the author has scattered 14 pie recipes throughout the book, one of which is for “Sour Cherry Pie.” The recipes were submitted by the author’s family and friends, and each recipe was tested by the author.

“Pie” is the name Polly gave her pie shop.

It’s located in downtown Ipswitch, Pa., which has a population of 162, at the corner of Widham and Main.

The downstairs of the storefront building is the shop, and Polly lives upstairs.

As with everything connected to Polly’s life, the shop’s name is simple and straightforward.

In fact, the only thing that might be considered fancy about Polly’s shop is the leopard-print apron she wears when she bakes. (Polly loves leopard-print.)

Since she was a child, Polly has had a talent for baking pies. She knows all kinds of tricks, like how much sugar to add to the filling after pinching a berry or smelling a peach.

She’s even made up her own pie recipes and is especially known for the piecrust recipe she keeps secret.

Boy, the citizens of Ipswitch were happy when they learned Polly was going to open a shop.

They thought about the triple berry pies filled with raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Then there were the chocolate coconut banana pies and the pies “piled so high with whipped cream that it looked like they had snow drifts setting on top of them.”

And there were lots more.

But imagine the townspeople’s surprise when they learned Polly wasn’t going to sell pies — she was going to give them away. They felt very uncomfortable, indeed, so they decided to do the next best thing. They started leaving pie ingredients on the shop’s doorstep. And so that’s how it’s been since the shop opened.

After the Ipsy News ran an article about Polly’s pie shop, news spread around the country about Polly’s pies.

People started coming from everywhere, bringing pie ingredients from their states. Then Polly won the Blueberry Award, the most coveted award for pie baking, and she never even entered the contest. Not only that, but she won 13 Blueberry Medals in a row.

Now Alice Anderson is Polly’s niece, and Alice loves her aunt so much she spends a lot of time at the pie shop. Alice doesn’t have her aunt’s talent for baking pies — she writes songs instead.

But, that doesn’t matter to Polly. She adores Alice.

And then when Alice is 11, the unthinkable happens.

Aunt Polly suddenly passes away. In the days following her untimely death, some rather mysterious things start happening.

First, a big green Chevrolet with leopard-print curtains is seen in the church parking lot the day of the funeral. Nobody knows who is in the car.

Then somebody breaks into the pie shop.

Could they have been trying to find Polly’s piecrust recipe? It sounds reasonable since several of the town’s ladies have been trying to bake Aunt Polly’s pies. They want to win the Blueberry Medal, and they need to find Polly’s secret piecrust recipe.

Then there’s the reading of Aunt Polly’s will.

Alice inherits Lardo, Aunt Polly’s cranky white cat who enjoys a steady diet of fried sardines and sweet cream. Lardo disappears. Could he have been kidnapped?

Alice and her 11-year-old friend, Charlie Erdling, take on all these mysteries and more. The book’s suspense builds to a surprise ending.

This book has it all — colorful characters, mystery, a page-turning writing style, and recipes, too.

It is intended for young adult readers, but I think older adults would like it as well.

I did. The book is a winner.

“Pie” was written by Sarah Weeks and published by Scholastic Books (2011). The book can be found at the Craig Branch of the Moffat County Libraries or Downtown Books.

The cost is about $15.98 in hardcover.

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