Thursday, June 29, 2017

Middle Grades Pick: Quicksand Pond

Quicksand Pond
by Janet Taylor Lisle
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
2017
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.

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