Richard Peck

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Zena Sutherland

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[In Secrets of the Shopping Mall Barnie and Teresa] take refuge in a department store and soon learn that there is a whole group of young people there, living secretly in the store and rigidly organized into a tight, defensive society, with Duty Personnel, a Chairperson, guards, Night Patrol, etc. The organization and its members lampoon their real life grey flannel equivalents, so there's intrinsic wry humor to the writing, but this isn't a humorous story; although it presents an intriguing concept, it is not quite believable as realism and not quite fanciful enough to be fantasy…. Dialogue and writing style are up to Peck's usual standards, in sum, while the story line is not.

Zena Sutherland, "New Titles for Children and Young People: 'Secrets of the Shopping Mall'," in Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (reprinted by permission of The University of Chicago Press; © 1980 by the University of Chicago), Vol. 33, No. 6, February, 1980, p. 115.

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