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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Wilhelmina and the Willamette Wig Factory: The Willy and Tommy Adventures, Book 1 is a young adult and pre-teen paranormal fantasy novel written by Whitney Dineen. Wilhelmina Snodgrass is most definitely not impressed by her parents’ decision to move from their home in Mason, Illinois, to Monteith in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. The eleven-year-old Willy was looking forward to beginning the new school year as a seventh-grader and being part of the swim team. She misses her friends who are probably back home practicing for the swim team tryouts. It’s different for her eight-year-old brother, Wendell, who’s already running around the street with brand new friends, but boys are not all that discriminating about who they play with anyway. Willy’s mom is sympathetic to her daughter’s woes. It’s not easy being in that tween state between kid and teen. She figures a shopping trip might be the answer to lifting her daughter’s blues, and it works a treat. In the first cool clothing store they find, Willy meets Charlene, a salesgirl who loves Willy’s red hair and just happens to have a sister who is Willy’s age. To make things even better, they’re practically neighbors.
Whitney Dineen’s young adult and pre-teen paranormal fantasy, Wilhelmina and the Willamette Wig Factory, is a fresh and original story about a young girl’s move to a new town and the friends she makes when she gets there. The outspoken Tommy is a marvelous counterpart for the somewhat diffident Willy, but I’d find it hard to point out any character in this enjoyable, haunting and haunted tale who wasn’t expertly crafted and quite believable. I loved the supernatural aspect of the plot and enjoyed seeing how Tommy and Willy interacted with Mrs. Carbunckle’s dead relatives. Monteith, Oregon is an inspired historical setting for this story, and the efforts the girls and their friends make to reopen the wig factory makes for an exciting and entertaining tale. Dineen leaves a few clues scattered throughout the story about the continued adventures of Willy and Tommy, and I’m looking forward to the subsequent volumes in this series. Wilhelmina and the Willamette Wig Factory is highly recommended.