Thursday, June 29, 2017

Middle Grades Pick: Quicksand Pond

Quicksand Pond
by Janet Taylor Lisle
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
240 pages
ISBN: 9781481472227

Quicksand Pond is the story of two strangers, young girls who meet on a pond in New England one summer. Jessie's family (minus her mother) travels to Rhode Island for the summer renting a decrepit cottage on the shore of Quicksand Pond and steps away from the Atlantic shores. Older sister Julia is not thrilled to be carted off to the backwoods where wi-fi is a joke. She soon discovers the beach and the local kids. Jessie finds a raft at the pond's edge and like a true adventurer, she pushes off on it to the middle of the pond. Without a pole or paddle, the raft is nearly worthless. Jessie uses reeds to pull herself back to shore hours later.

Local kid Terri Carr makes her presence known from the start. She tells Jessie about old stories that have become legends in the town. A husband and wife murdered in the big house on the pond years ago, the crime never solved. People drowning. Another house burned to the ground. Folks around there know who is responsible but Terri is not saying. Terri has her own baggage--her father has a mean temper and a quick hand.

An old woman lives in the huge mansion still. She was a girl when the family was murdered--they were her parents and she witnessed the crime. Now she's an old lady subject to flights of fancy. According to her nurse, the old lady never makes sense. But....what if Miss Cutting isn't just babbling? What if she carries the clues to solve the old cases?

Quicksand Pond has all the elements that make a strong middle grade read--an old unsolved mystery, a couple of drownings, a town rife with rumors, family money and family secrets, a rural setting far enough away from city life, a father who has failed, a family in ruins, two very different girls who meet and become friends, and an unknown villain who wants to keep the past buried forever.

A quick and enjoyable read!

Highly, highly recommended grade 4-up.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful book!

    Brian Johnson
    Lakeside Junior High School

  2. My students enjoy all of Janet Taylor Lisle's books - so this one should be a hit.

    Suz Costner
    Fairview Elementary School

  3. I just pulled this book to read myself. It sounds very interesting.

  4. Sounds intriguing.

    Heidi Grange
    Summit Elementary

  5. Sounds like a great book. I would love a copy for my school library. :)

    ~Stephanie Robinson
    srobinson at region15 dot org

  6. Looks great!

    Lynne McHale
    Bedford Junior High

  7. I would love to add this to my brand new library.
    Konni in den Bosch
    Bennington Middle School

  8. Can't wait to read it and share it with our 4th and 5th grade students! Sounds like a wonderful mystery to share in October with a theme appealing to young adults and family characters that many can relate to. Thanks for this wonderful review!

    Marianne Dolce
    Sunrise Elementary
    Central Florida

  9. Sounds like a great story! I'm sure my 6th grade girls will love it! And even a lot of boys, too!

    Tiffani Smith Richmond, Texas

  10. Great review! Hope to win a copy!

    Moultonborough NH

  11. Enter me in the drawing!
    Janice Coates
    Richmond County Middle School, Warsaw, VA

  12. I can think of five students that would love this book!

  13. My kids will love it.
    Brenda Young
    Rogers Middle School

  14. Sounds like a winner!
    Janice Quinn
    Kerens, TX

  15. My students love a good mystery.
    Michelle Hiriak
    Mill Creek Elementary
    Warrington PA

  16. How exciting, what a fun thing you're doing!

    Amanda Richter
    St. Ignatius, Montana

  17. What a fun and exciting thing you're doing! Yay! We love new books!

    Amanda Richter
    St. Ignatius, Montana

  18. Pick Me! Pick Me!
    Sandra Carswell
    Copperas Cove

  19. My students love a good mystery.

    Mary Zdrojewski
    Scio, NY

  20. I like that it takes place in New England, where I live.
    Wendy Lavenda-Carroll
    Riverview School
    East Sandwich, MA

  21. I would love for my students to have this book. It sounds like a great mystery!
    Clay/Trussville, Alabama

  22. Our students would love this one!
    F. Fallon Farokhi

    Junction City Middle School