Tag Archives: California

368D: YA Book from the early 90s about a boy who spends a summer in California

This was a pretty small paperback, sold at Scholastic book fairs in the early 90s. It was meant for late elementary school to early middle school readers. It’s fiction, and I believe it might have been in the format of a diary kept by the main character. Pretty sure the cover had a mountain lion on it.

It was about a boy from Michigan or some other Midwestern state who for some reason had to go to California for a summer (maybe he was in some trouble at school or his parents were getting divorced, don’t remember). I remember a scene with a rattlesnake, where someone ends up chopping its head off with a garden hoe.

The ending involved him getting lost in a canyon and stalked by a mountain lion. He was about to try fighting it with a rock when search and rescue showed up to help him.

353N: California Transplant Helps Keep Oranges from Freezing (Solved!)

Looking for a book from my preteen years. It was about a girl who moves to California. She lives with people who are not her family or maybe distant family or family friends. They run an orange orchard. They have to go out in the cold nights to light smudge pots to keep the fruit from freezing. (And I think at some point, it is a big deal for her to acquire a yellow raincoat that they call a ‘slicker’ in the book.)

340G: 1970s book, set in California, the story of a man and his wife, their relationship, divorce, his subsequent wife, Orange Julius

I read this book in the late 1980s, and really enjoyed it, despite finding his wife slightly infuriating.
The story started in the 1960s, and went through to the 1970s. On his first date at a diner with his (red headed? maybe?) girlfriend whom he marries, she tells him the salt and pepper shakers like him and she likes him. Their meeting when they decide to divorce is also in a diner, where she tells him that the salt and pepper shakers love him and he’s breaking their hearts. He leaves her for another woman, whom he marries.
I think that most of the story takes place in California, and during the summer they drink Orange Julius. He may have met his wife at uni.
It’s a quite funny novel, as I recall, and I really enjoyed it. I just cannot find it, even with all my powers of Googlefu.
I have no idea of the name, or when it was written, though I suspect it’s late 1970s or early 1980s, and I think it’s written by a man. The novel is first person from the man’s POV.
If you can find it for me, I will be eternally grateful. I know it isn’t much to go on.

329C: Ghost of California chicken racer

Published before 1989, likely current setting is late 70's or early 80's. Teenage girl with mom and brother, no dad, move to a 3 story house off the California coast line. The house has a curved driveway with a tree stump in the grass. The family does not have a car, but the girl keeps hearing a car idling in the driveway. Then starts to see an oil leak when everyone else sees dirt. Later she sees a 50's style car (blue if I remember correctly) and a man in his late teens or early 20's in a bomber jacket. Man died in a chicken race when his car went over the cliff. He is asking the girl to help him find his girlfriend from that time, who used to live in the house. Detail about the house is that the circular window on the 3rd floor always breaks out even after the tree was cut. Which used to be tall enough to reach the 3rd floor window. Below the house is a small cottage surrounded by lots of flowers and the person who lives there befriends the girl. She is the new girl in school and everyone thinks she is crazy, especially when the ghost of the man in the bomber jacket starts to dance with her on the school's cruise along the coast. Of course, no one can see him and everyone thinks she is dancing by herself. The cover has the picture of the girl, brunette I think, standing in the driveway, with a see-through image of the man in the bomber jacket and his car behind her.