357Y: 1980’s young reader fiction set in Boston

I am trying to find the name of a book I read in 5th grade in 1983-84. It was a chapter book about a young girl whose family (just her and her parents) had to move, I think, because of one parent’s job change. She tries to prevent the move by demanding her parents find her a bedroom in a tower, and to her chagrin, they succeed. I don’t know that the book actually names Boston as the move destination, but looking back the girl clearly moved to the Back Bay area in Boston. There she befriended a group of loners, oddballs and outcasts. One of them is called Gertrudestein (one word) in the book. She is an older divorced woman who left her husband Lloyd because she could not bear his insistence that his name be pronounced “yoyd.” The young girl and a friend (maybe a similar-aged boy) decide to steal a swan boat in the middle of the night to take their menagerie of friends, who for various reasons are socially unacceptable as riders during the daytime, on a ride. A decent portion of the story is spent planning the heist.
I have a daughter in 5th grade myself now and am so desperate to find and share this book with her!

6 thoughts on “357Y: 1980’s young reader fiction set in Boston

  1. Deborah Carpenter

    You have parts of two different Lois Lowry books here. The one about the girl moving to a house with a tower and meeting Gertrudestein is Anastasia Again. The one about the theft of the swan boat and taking homeless people for a one-night ride is Taking Care of Terrific.

  2. Deborah k carpenter

    Part of the description applies to Taking Care of Terrific by Lowry–the part about the stolen swan boat and the homeless people.

  3. Tracy Shepard

    Thank you all so much for these replies! I forgot I’d asked and just came across my own question and am so delighted by the answers. The funniest part to me is that I am now a middle school teacher, and I have taught Lois Lowry’s The Giver for the past two years.

    I can’t wait to find these Anastasia books again!


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