Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Ali Standish
Publisher: Harper Collins
Miranda has spent years longing to go to August Isle, the town where her mother spent her girlhood summers. But Miranda never wanted to go like this. With both parents busy with work assignments, Miranda is sent to August Isle to spend the summer with her mother's friend Clare and her daughter Sammy. Miranda and Sammy immediately connect, and the summer looks up as new friendships develop and the isle is explored. As Miranda determines to discover why her mother stopped coming to August Isle and why she distances herself from her family, Miranda finds herself tangled in a web of mysteries, involving an old seafarer, a distant lighthouse, and a familiar name. As she begins to find answers, Miranda must face her fears head on and learn to forgive both her mother and herself.
The complexity of character and emotion in this book is stunning. Miranda longs for her mother’s love and affection, but as her mother grows distant, Miranda internalizes this as a fault of her own. However, she learns while unraveling mysteries over the course of the summer more about her family and particularly her mother. Miranda’s perspective begins to change as she gradually realizes that everyone around her is on their own journey. This book beautifully portrays a difficult concept for children to grasp: that their parents (and even their friends) are complex individuals who are the main characters of their own stories. This is a heartwarming book about family, bravery, and perspective that is perfect for any middle grade classroom.