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Warming Up by Joan Verlezza

Warming Up

by Joan Verlezza

196 pages
Twelve-year-old Marcella learns to cope after her motherís death.

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Category: Fiction:Literary
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About the Book
Marcella is trying to make sense of the empty space left by her motherís death when she was four, and to come out from inside the fog that gathered around her on that morning eight years ago.

Itís the mid-sixties and most of her friends are wondering who they will marry, planning their weddings and deciding how many children theyíll have. Her grandmother is trying to convince her how important it is that she learns to cook and keep house, activities she cares nothing about. She has a different future in mind. She wants to travel the world, writing stories about the places she visits and the people she meets.

In April of 1966 a new family moves to Second Avenue. Scott Canner is in the sixth grade with Marcella; his brother Billy joins the eighth grade class with her brother, Rich. The chip on Billyís shoulder shows itself when an otherwise harmless incident in the schoolyard puts the older Canner brother at odds with the boys his age. As the summer begins, Marcella is witness to an incident in the Canner household that makes her sympathize with Scott and they become tentative friends.

Marcella looks forward to spending time with Stan, a beloved elderly neighbor, sitting on his front porch, while he plays his harmonica and tells his stories. All the kids on Second Avenue have grown up listening to Stan. He is a reassuring presence in their lives. Bobby Palendrini, her brotherís best friend and Marcellaís first crush has even started to take music lessons from him.

One June morning Stan discovers his favorite harmonica, an heirloom his father gave him, is missing. The mystery is solved when Marcella and her friend Rosie hear tones from the missing instrument wafting down from Billy Cannerís window. Soon everyone knows Billy has Stanís harmonica but heís denying he took it and his parents are defending him.

Trying to force the return of his instrument, Stan begins a daily march back and forth in front of the Canner house. This makes no difference to the Canners so, with Bobby as their leader, the neighborhood kids hatch a plot to take matters into their own hands. They decide to break into the Canner house and take Stanís property back. Ignoring the warnings of her best friend and the misgivings in her own mind, Marcella jumps in with both feet.

Life in West Harbor has a rhythm and Stanís music is part of it. But this summer, a theft, a yearning for justice and lessons on family, friendship and community will change the tune forever.



About the Author
Joan Verlezza Joan Verlezza has been researching and collecting family anecdotes since childhood. She believes every family has stories worth telling. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Romance Languages, and has worked in law and communications. This is her first novel.



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