Poppy Brown has been known to make up stories at times, so only her loyal friend Emma believes the amazing news of the incredible happenings at the estate where Poppy's mother works. Struck by lightning, one of the statues has fallen off its pedestal and come to life--and others are following!
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ISBN 0440403006 - First off, for those parents who freak out about every word their kid reads, you should know that hell and damn each make several appearances throughout the book, almost always out of the mouth of a kid. If, however, you can overlook that, not a bad book, just not a great one - and nowhere NEAR as good as The Sylvia Game by the same author.
Poppy Brown, shuffled from home to foster home and 'round again, lies. All the time. And for no reason! The end result is that no one believes her. Of course, NOW she's got a great, true story to tell, and if she tells it to anyone, it's going to sound like the biggest lie she's ever told. Living in Mr Hunt's house, where her mother works, Poppy has spent a lot of time in the garden. In one corner of the garden, Belladonna stands silent while Poppy tells her everything. This is a perfect arrangement for Poppy, because Belladonna doesn't talk back, think Poppy's a liar or ignore her like her classmates do during school.
One afternoon, Poppy finds herself talking to Belladonna as a storm begins to roll in. A bracelet she's made of chain she found becomes a gift to Belladonna and, somehow, between the lightning and the bracelet Belladonna comes to life. Poppy eventually tells her story to Emma, the fat unpopular girl from school and the two spend the bulk of the book chasing after Belladonna and then running away from her and other statues she's brought to life with the chain.
There's some lessons in the book, about friendship and how you should treat people, about lying and the price you pay in trust, and about mothers and daughters and their relationships. Overall, the book's average, I wouldn't read it twice but it might get the budding Stephen King crowd interested.