In the book “The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyster” by Cary Fagan, Hartley Staples is having a rough time trying to juggle the end-of-school work and the recent event of his older brother, Jackson running away. On top of that, his (former) best friend refuses to even say a word to him, let alone meet his eyes.
In his small town, there isn’t anything interesting to see anymore now that his brother is gone. Hartley, on a day as boring as any other, walk to the community library. It isn’t exactly a library, more of a mobile home full of unwanted books discarded by the neighbors. As he wanders through the heavily packed shelves, something catches his eye, a postcard yet not. As he looks closer, he discovers a pair of what appear to be initials. As Hartley discovers more and more of the postcards, he becomes all the more determined to find the true identity of g.o. The initials on the postcards.
I prefer to read longer books, but I did enjoy this book. The characters, despite not having much time to develop, they had well defined personalities that provided conflicts and relationships to help move the plot along. One thing that I found was that it was hard to start. The plot was a little slow moving and drifted from the topic a few times, leading the story off track.
I enjoyed the storyline and the characters, as well as the pictures that were embedded in the book. There aren’t enough illustrations to call it a picture book, as there were only four or five. The pictures showed each of the postcards that Hartley has collected, one occasionally appearing every chapter or so.