City of Names by Kevin Brockmeier

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Synopsis

When Howie Quackenbush receives his order from the school book club, he's expecting 101 Pickle Jokes. What he gets is a copy of The Secret Guide to North Mellwood, and something tells him his life is about to change dramatically. The guide tells him how to transport anywhere in town simply by laying his hand on a secret portal and saying his destination's true name. At first, transporting around town with his best friends is a lot of fun. But Howie is full of questions. Who sent him the book? Why? Why does every place in Mellwood have two names? And what could the mysterious Hall of Babies possibly have to do with him?
 

About Kevin Brockmeier

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Kevin Brockmeier is the author of five novels for adults and two children's novels. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, McSweeney's, The Oxford American, The Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories and Granta's Best of Young American Novelists, among other publications. He has taught at the Iowa Writer's Workshop.
 
Published May 27, 2002 by Viking Juvenile. 133 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Then the next book order brings an Addendum, a plastic overlay with far more intriguing destinations, including an underwater chamber full of babies where Howie has a conversation with his about-to-be-born little sister, and the subterranean digs of Larry Boone himself, a half-legendary figure in...

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Publishers Weekly

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The book opens up into a map identifying the "true names" of various buildings and sites in Howie's hometown, and identifies five "portals" through which the initiated can travel to other Mellwood locations.

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