TITLE: JAP Jeopardy
GENRE: YA Mystery
Ready to show her family that she's not a brainless JAP in need of micro-management, 17-year-old Rachel’s chance comes when Granny’s shady cousin Ren asks her to sign over her interest in a worthless Lithuanian property—the ancestral farm, supposedly given away before WWII. Eager to prove her smarts and get away from home, Rachel finds herself matching wits with corrupt Lithuanian police, unwinding decades-old clues from dead relatives, and ruining her nails in the process. Jeesh. Being smart is hard!
I hadn't expected Mom to go all cheerleader at the news of my weekend date with Tommy Arndorfer. In fact, I expected her to ask, "Is he Jewish?" like she asked about every guy I ever dated. All five of them. Instead, she said, "You're not going out with any boy this weekend. Not that I’d allow you to go out with Tommy anyway. Granny has an emergency.”
“What kind of trouble could Granny have that we couldn’t solve over a manicure? I’ll need one for Saturday night.”
“With Papa still in the hospital, Granny wants you with her. . .”
“Not a chance. Love Granny and all, but she can be home alone . . .” Mom looked like I'd slapped her. Big red splotches grew on her cheeks like Diablo sauce on pasta, blurring together until I thought her head would explode.
Through compressed lips, she continued “. . . when her crooked cousin Ren comes from California.”
“Seriously? You’re ruining my weekend for this?”
“Rachel, let me get through that kugel-like brain of yours. Ren just announced his travel plans by fax. This morning. He sent papers for her to sign relinquishing her rights to the family homestead in Lithuania. Which she never owned. He’s up to no good. You know Granny won’t take my help. I’m sorry your brother can’t get back from Wash U this weekend—no doubt he would take care of Ren—but you’re here so suck it up, and do your best."